The U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35B multirole, fifth-generation fighters jets arrived at Gowen Field, Boise in Idaho to train with legendary A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 124th Fighter Wing’s 190th Fighter Squadron.
According to 124th Fighter Wing, the Idaho Air National Guard welcomed U.S. Marines from the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 225, who fly the F-35B Lightning II, to Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, January 7-9, 2022.
The squadron brought four of the fifth-generation fighters to train with venerable A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 124th Fighter Wing’s 190th Fighter Squadron.
“The F-35B is a fifth-generation fighter and the Marine Corps version of the Joint Strike Fighter, which utilizes Short Take-Off Vertical Landing,” said Lt. Col. Mike Hampton, the director of operations for the 190th Fighter Squadron. “It can take off and land vertically on boats or short unconventional type airstrips, and is unparalleled in its ability to identify, locate, and destroy the most modern air defenses on the battlefield.”
Integrating and training with different airframe generations provides a unique collaboration.
“This shows that one of the best attack aircraft in the inventory, the mighty A-10 Thunderbolt II, can lethally integrate with the newest, most advanced aircraft in the world, the F-35 Lightning II,” said Hampton. “Additionally, it is an opportunity for two services to train together in anticipation of fighting alongside each other in future conflicts.”
A-10 is extremely low maintenance, flies low, can practically hover over a battlefield, land almost anywhere and packs a 20-foot-long, 2.5-ton, seven-barrel Gatling gun that can fire more than 1,100 rounds of 30-mm. bullets.
This anticipation and preparation are essential for combat readiness against a near peer enemy.
“Training with other units is a critical component to our wing maintaining combat readiness,” said Col. Chad Kornberg, the 124th Fighter Wing commander. “We typically operate in a joint combat environment, working hand-in-hand with other services, and this training is imperative to prepare our pilots for combat operations.”
The training will focus on strengths that each airframe has.
“We’ll focus on Forward Air Control (Airborne) or FAC-A, which entails A-10 pilots finding targets on the battlefield and passing targeting information to the F-35s, so they can strike each target using the best munition available, ensuring friendly troops on the ground are safe and giving them the freedom of maneuver,” said Hampton.
Having units visit and train is nothing new, but this trip was a first for Idaho.
“This is the first time we’ve worked with F-35s and we continue to build these types of relationships throughout all services and airframes,” said Hampton. “Other units outside of Idaho continue to come here because we have some of the best ranges in the world, thanks to the outstanding Airmen in the Idaho Air National Guard.”