October, 3

F-35 aircraft touch down at Tyndall AFB

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As the Air Force continues to evolve by modernizing its capabilities and maintaining air superiority in an ever-changing global security landscape, Tyndall Air Force Base has officially transitioned from an air dominance training mission to a fully combat capable F-35A Lightning II fighter wing.

This transition was cemented with the touchdown of the first three F-35s Aug. 1. 

“The arrival of the F-35 marks a new chapter for Tyndall,” said Col. George Watkins, 325th Fighter Wing commander. “It represents the introduction of the most advanced and technologically sophisticated fighter aircraft into the 325th Fighter Wing’s operational fleet.” 

Transitioning to a combat-oriented mission set is a historical milestone as the F-35’s arrival is a catalyst for advancing airpower capabilities, ensuring air superiority and showcasing the resilience and adaptability of both the ‘Installation of the Futureand the Air Force. 

The F-35 provides next-generation stealth, enhanced situational awareness and reduced vulnerability for the U.S. and allied nations. The jet’s capabilities place the 325th Fighter Wing at the forefront of the Air Force’s priority to lead the defense community in maintaining a technologically superior warfighting force of the future. 

“Standing up three operational F-35 fighter squadrons at Tyndall (AFB) increases Air Force lethality and combat readiness,” Watkins said. “It’s a move that aligns with National Defense Strategy objectives to deter and combat aggression for the United States’ adversaries.”

Tyndall AFB’s gaining of the F-35 elevates global deterrence to another level. The 325th FW’s prime location labels it as a critical asset due to the direct access to the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Range complex. Once the fighter squadrons are fully operational, Tyndall AFB aircraft will participate in large-scale exercises aimed at improving interoperability between 4th and 5th-gen airframes as well as joint force operations. The change in mission set shifts Tyndall AFB into the Air Force Force Generation model, as a lead wing capable of worldwide deployment operations and homeland defense.

Joining the growing international F-35 communities, Tyndall AFB’s acceptance of the aircraft encourages strong collaboration between allied partners across global theaters while propelling the 325th FW into an offensive state to gain a competitive edge over adversaries.

“Tyndall (AFB) has a rich history of hosting and supporting cutting-edge aircraft and missions,” Watkins said. “From its early days as a gunnery range, to its role as a 5th-generation aircraft training and operational hub, the arrival of the F-35s maintains Tyndall (AFB)’s pivotal role in shaping the future of air warfare.”

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