The U.S. military is working with Australia, Japan, South Korea and other allies to bring them up to speed on the power and potential of fifth-generation aircraft like the F-35 and F-22.
Pacific Air Forces, the Hawaii-based major command whose area of responsibility stretches to the Asian coastline, is leading the effort to integrate the F-35 with allies, according to Col. Art Primas, the command’s international affairs division chief.
American pilots are leveraging their “experiences with our fifth-gen fighters” to help allies better understand the unique capabilities of the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 Raptor.
The Defense Department is constantly evaluating what planes, exercises and intelligence it needs to bolster ties in the region, which contains 60 percent of the world’s population, officials said.
In a few years, the Pentagon may change “the flavors” of annual exercises to include new training with fifth-generation platforms, added Col. Kelly Lawson, PACAF chief of current operations. The training may include replacing old missions sets with new ones and hosting more joint-service operations and multilateral training.
As new and emerging threats appear, “we’re evolving to be as efficient as we can,” he said.
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