A Utah military base performed an aerial spectacular of the nation’s most advanced fighter jets on Jan. 6.
Hill Air Force Base welcomed F-35A II Lightning fighters among 52 of the latest combat aircraft for a giant “elephant walk” where they launched one after another.
“We launched about 50 F-35s in rapid succession,” the 419th Fighter Wing said on Twitter. “[This was] part of a long-planned combat power exercise with F-35 Lightning II, we pushed the boundaries and tested our airmen’s ability to deploy the F-35 en masse. We are ready to fly, fight, and win.”
The base, located 30 miles north of Salt Lake City, is home to a total of 78 fifth generation fighters according to Fox News. The broadcaster describes the “elephant walk” as a close formation of military aircraft before taking off.
“Today’s exercise marks the accomplishment of over four years of work–a little over four years ago, we received our first F-35,” 388th Wing Vice Cmdr. Col. Michael Ebner said according to Fox News. “We now have our full complement of aircraft and locally, we turn this into a goal of full war-fighting capability.”
The F-35A Demonstration Team described the overall flight performance as “awesome” and revealed there would be more to come.
“What an awesome first day of practice over Utah Hill Air Force Base,” the team said on Twitter. “We will be practicing all week so stay tuned for more imagery.”
The base confirmed there had been months of planning for the “elephant walk” exercise, which came at a time of growing military tension between the United States and Iran where Donald Trump ordered an air strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3.
Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) has fully supported the president’s move to order the deadly military attack.
“President Donald Trump has made the right call. We need to keep up the pressure and economic sanctions on Iran,” Waltz said on Twitter. “Iran will have a choice: either give up its nuclear program and terrorist support or face complete economic collapse.”
Waltz, who is the first Green Beret to serve in Congress, warned the Iranian mullah regime would face serious repercussions if any U.S. citizens died from retaliatory attacks.
“If Iran kills any Americans in any of these attacks, they will feel the consequences of their actions,” he said on Twitter.
The 388th operational unit recently deployed one F-35A squadron overseas to the Middle East. This unit has already returned to the United States and a second F-35A squadron from base is currently being deployed to that region according to Fox News.
“The message is not just to potential adversaries but it is also to our nation’s leadership that they can count on the 388th Fighter Wing to support the combat power that they plan and require us to provide,” Ebner said according to the broadcaster.