By Valerie Insinna
August 8, 2016
The Air Force’s first F-35 squadron has completed all preparations necessary to declare the joint strike fighter combat capable, and sources say an initial operating capability declaration is due within days.
Twelve jets have received the modifications necessary for IOC, 21 combat- mission-ready pilots are available, and the maintenance infrastructure is ready to support Hill Air Force Base’s 34th Fighter Squadron, said some of those operators on July 27. With paperwork filed, all that’s left is for Air Combat Command head Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle to sign off.
“We have achieved all our milestones,” said Lt. Col. Steven Anderson, deputy commander of the 388th Maintenance Group. Anderson, along with several other maintainers and pilots from Hill Air Force Base, spoke to reporters over a conference call. “Wehave submitted all of the data to ACC for General Carlisle’s consideration on making that declaration.”