|USAF F-35A fighters arrive in Switzerland to participate in Swiss Flight Evaluations.|
U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, Airmen, and associated equipment have arrived at Payerne Air Base, Switzerland, to participate in Swiss Flight Evaluations hosted by the government of Switzerland (Air 2030 program).
The Swiss government is recapitalizing the Swiss air force fighter fleet to meet future air defense requirements, and as part of a full and open competition is hosting five competitors: Lockheed Martin F-35A, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18E/F, Airbus Typhoon, Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen E. The purpose of U.S. Air Force participation is to demonstrate capabilities of the F-35A.
The F-35 aircraft and personnel are assigned to the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill AFB, Utah. The 388th FW is the Air Force's first combat-coded, or operational, F-35A unit. Currently, F-35A aircraft belonging to the two Squadrons are also deployed at Avian air base, Italy, to participate in the Astral Knight 2019 exercise.