F-35 Symposium Hosts 90 Senior Officers, Aircraft Experts

By Staff Writer | March 20, 2017
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Pacific Air Forces’ inaugural F-35 Symposium featured the largest gathering of fifth-generation warfighters in history, Pacific Air Forces said. Concluding last Friday, more than 90 senior officers and Lockheed Martin F-35 experts gathered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, to talk about the future of the aircraft and its operations in the Pacific.

"The scale of participation we've seen with the F-35 Symposium accentuates just how important the F-35 is to us and our allies,” U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Craig Wills said. “The Lightning II is a phenomenal fighter and an incredible investment in our warfighting capability and ability to defend freedom."

Subject-matter experts from Japan, Australia, South Korea, the U.S., U.S. Marine Cops and U.S. Air Force participated in open discussions, briefings and panels during the symposium. Subjects included beddown, integration, logistics, sustainment and combat operations. It is intended that there will be more events of this nature, to bring experts together to discuss the aircraft.

"We have a rare face-to-face opportunity to dive into an extremely sophisticated jet, as a joint and multinational team, to maximize the interoperability of the most lethal weapons system to grace the skies," said Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander. "The F-35's ability to fuse multi-domain information is a game-changing capability that will give us a tactical advantage. It's because of the F-35's fusing capability that we must enhance the interoperability among all partners and allies who fly it."

There are nine original partner countries in the F-35 Lightning II program, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S. The manufacturer said that so far, six have received jets. There are also three foreign military sale (FMS) customers — Israel, Japan and South Korea. Israel and Japan received their first jets last year.

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