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Paris Air Show underway

A Paris Air Show visitor takes a selfie with an F-35A Lightning II from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, June 17, 2019.

A Paris Air Show visitor takes a selfie with an F-35A Lightning II from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, June 17, 2019. This marks the second time the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been exhibited at the air show. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Eric Burks)

Paris Air Show visitors observe a KC-46A Pegasus static display June 17, 2019.

Paris Air Show visitors observe a KC-46A Pegasus static display June 17, 2019. The U.S. Air Force is displaying the tanker for the first time at the 53rd Paris Air Show. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Eric Burks)

Former National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronauts Retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Walt Cunningham, left, Retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Charlie Duke, center, and Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Al Worden, right, are applauded during an opening ceremony at the Paris Air Show, June 17, 2019.

Former National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronauts Retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Walt Cunningham, left, Retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Charlie Duke, center, and Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Al Worden, right, are applauded during an opening ceremony at the Paris Air Show, June 17, 2019. The summer of 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of man's first steps on the moon, and the occasion of this year's air show creates a unique opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the Apollo program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Eric Burks)

Paris Air Show visitors observe French Armed Forces static displays June 17, 2019.

Paris Air Show visitors observe French Armed Forces static displays June 17, 2019. Continual interaction between partnering forces enables allied nations to strengthen overall coordination during times of crisis or security threats. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Eric Burks)

LE BOURGET AIRPORT, France --

U.S. aircraft and Department of Defense personnel are participating in the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, France, which kicked off June 17, 2019.

The air show provides a collaborative opportunity to share and strengthen U.S. and strategic international partnerships that have been forged over several decades.

"We have a great partnership with the French in so many ways in this beautiful country, and nothing could be more important to the bilateral relationship than what you do," said U.S. Ambassador to France Jamie McCourt during an opening ceremony June 17.

"At the end of the day, this is our security, this is our military, and this is our commercial industry." she said.

Direct DoD participation in the air show supports U.S. government security policy and defense industrial strategic objectives.

Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan said, "On behalf of the 685,000 Total Force Airmen, thank you to the U.S. industry for the skill and innovation and dedication of providing the very best tools for our warfighters."

Many of these tools are on display at the 53rd Paris Air Show, and while some of the participating airframes have proven their combat effectiveness for decades, there are also a few newer "faces in the crowd."

The U.S. Air Force is displaying the K-46A Pegasus for the first time at the air show. The aircraft brings more refueling capacity than legacy platforms, improved efficiency, and increased cargo and aeromedical evacuation capabilities.

An F-35A from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is also on static display. This marks the second time the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been exhibited at the Paris Air Show. The Air Force’s newest operational 5th-generation fighter, the F-35A Lightning II, provides unmatched lethality, survivability, and adaptability to the warfighter.

Other DoD aircraft showcased this year include the C-130J Super Hercules, P-8 Poseidon, CH-47 Chinook, AH-64 Apache, and F-15E Strike Eagle. Together, the assets participating in the Paris Air Show represent 4th and 5th generation fighters, mobility, strike and refueling capabilities of the U.S. military.

Along with the aircraft, approximately 130 aircrew and support personnel from bases in Europe and the U.S. are attending the air show.

The presence of these Airmen and aircraft at the Paris Air Show demonstrates the U.S. is engaged, postured and ready with a credible force to assure, deter and defend in a complex security environment.

"It demonstrates the Department of Defense and U.S. Air Force commitment to the European theater of operations," Donovan said.

"Part of our national defense strategy is to expand our international partnerships and strengthen existing relationships, so this is just one way we can do that," he said.

The Paris Air Show is open to industry, military and media members through June 20 and general public days will be June 21-23.