F-35 stealth fighter touted as the tie that binds Pacific alliance
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii — Pacific Air Forces brought more than 100 pilots and allied military officials together this week to discuss how to best operate and manage the newest fighter aircraft in the United States arsenal.
The two-day symposium on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter served as the first loop in a knot “to more quickly mature the airplane” among Pacific allies, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Craig Wills, director of strategy, plans and programs for U.S. Pacific Command, on Tuesday.
“What everyone needs to remember is that we are not alone in the Pacific,” Wills said. “Look at our incredible alliance with Japan, with the Republic of Korea, with Australia. When their combat capability increases, our combat capability increases. It’s that simple.”
The symposium included pilots, intelligence officers, logistics professionals and military officials from Japan, South Korea and Australia, the three countries in the region that have purchased F-35s.
F-35 experts from the U.S. Air Force, Marines and Navy also attended.
“At the operator level, there’s never been anything like this,” Wills said of the symposium. “These are the people that are really going to make it happen.”
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