Exercise VIGILANT ACE 18 is underway across the Korean Peninsula and the Wolf Pack’s F-16 Fighting Falcons, better known as Vipers, play host to the fifth-generation Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35A Lightning II, at the historic 8th Fighter Wing, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.
The Vipers and Lightings began training side-by-side last week in preparation for the F-35’s first integration into the week-long, annual flying exercise, and launched their first flights for VIGILANT ACE on Dec. 4, 2017.
Currently forward deployed to Kadena AB, Japan from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, U.S. Air Force Airmen and F-35s from the 34th and 466th Fighter Squadrons employ the newest and most advanced fighter aircraft in air battle scenarios with a variety of airframes from equally diverse points in modern aviation history.
“This is a great opportunity for some of our younger pilots to fly with our more experienced guys, as well as join in with the Wolf Pack and the rest of the air assets out here participating in VIGILANT ACE,” said Lt Col Dave DeAngelis, 466th FS commander. “Having the F-35 here on peninsula during this exercise, which is intended to test the combined air picture, validates our ability to jump into the fight at a moment’s notice and support forces in the region.”
The regularly scheduled flying exercise features more than 230 aircraft with U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Force personnel working alongside each other, comparable to participation from previous years’ iterations.