31st FW integrates with 48th FW at Aviano AB

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jessica Blair
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing flew with F-35A Lightning IIs assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, during exercise 31/48 at Aviano Air Base, July 10-21.

Exercise 31/48 is an opportunity for F-16 and F-35 units to optimize and strengthen interoperability and to project, through integration, the collective ability to defend vital U.S. interests. This integration allows both squadrons to generate aircraft and integrate personnel in a high state of readiness across all domains.

“It gives us the opportunity to work together through contingencies,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Rollie Flint, 510th Fighter Squadron director of operations. “So that when and if we are ever required to take-off and land at different locations, we will know exactly what to expect from each other and how to maximize our forces together.”

By conducting a diverse portfolio of year-round exercises alongside multigenerational airpower, both squadrons are prepared to employ forces anytime and anywhere.

“Each asset and aircraft within the theater serves a specific purpose that cannot be maximized without the other support assets around it,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Matthew Wilson, 495th Fighter Squadron commander. “So there are times when we can support F-35s and vice versa but until you actually do that live and have the ability to talk through how to maximize each other’s capabilities, just being together, flying together first-hand as opposed to reading it in a book or getting it from a brief is a critical experience for any of the pilots in the theater.”

This airpower integration exercise utilized the 31st FW’s fourth generation aircraft in accordance with the latest airpower technology, fifth generation F-35s, and gives both wings the opportunity to remain engaged, postured and ready with credible force to assure allies and deter adversaries.