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Pentagon declares F-35A jets combat ready

(AGI) Washington, Aug 3 - The U.S. Air Force has declared the F-35A jet fully op...

Pentagon declares F-35A jets combat ready
 F-35A cacciabombardiere

(AGI) Washington, Aug 3 - The U.S. Air Force has declared the F-35A jet fully operational and combat ready, with Italy having ordered 60 units of the fifth-generation stealth fighter. It is now - at least in theory - ready to enter service in warzones. General Hawk Carlisle, commander of the Air Combat Command, praised the F-35A's performance, stressing that it meets all the key criteria for reaching Initial Operating Capability (IOC). Among these are that Air Force personnel must be trained and equipped to carry out close air support, air interdiction, and limited suppression and destruction of enemy air defense missions within contested areas in a squadron of 12-24 jets. The aircraft must also be ready to be deployed and conduct operations with the weapons and mission systems contained in their programming, and all of their logistical and operating elements must be in place. "I am proud to announce this powerful new weapons system has achieved initial combat capability," General 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." Officials said the F-35A "provides air superiority, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses and close air support as well as great command and control functions through fused sensors, and will provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness of the battlespace that will be more extensive than any single-seat platform in existence." "Bringing the F-35A to initial combat readiness is a testament to our phenomenal airmen and the outstanding support of the Joint Program Office and our enterprise partners," said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. "This important milestone for our fighter force ensures the United States, along with our allies and international partners, remains prepared to deter, deny, and defeat the full spectrum of growing threats around the globe." (AGI)