Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of the Air Combat Command, recently declared the fifth-generation fighter aircraft F-35A Lightning II to be combat ready.
“I am proud to announce this powerful new weapons system has achieved initial combat capability,” Carlisle said. “The F-35A will be the most dominant aircraft in our inventory because it can go where our legacy aircraft cannot and provide the capabilities our commanders need on the modern battlefield.”
Defense Secretary Ash Carter congratulated the Air Force after the anouncement.
“This is a significant milestone for an aircraft that will allow the U.S. to maintain the advantage of air superiority for years to come,” “I know that even after being declared combat ready, there is more work to do with this critical program, but the Air Force, Air Combat Command, and the men and women of Hill Air Force Base should be proud of this major step forward for the F-35A.”
Carlisle praised the performance of the aircraft as it attained initial operational capability, which is determined with the following criteria: properly trained airmen, the ability to conduct operational missions using weapons systems, and all necessary logistics and operational elements in place.