The USAF plans to reactivate the 65th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nevada, and will assign nine early production F-35As to the unit. The move is part of an initiative to improve training for fifth-generation fighters against stealthy opposition. The unit will receive nine early Low Rate Initial Production and non-combat capable F-35As from the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB.
Additionally, two F-35As from the 412th Test Wing at Edwards AFB, California, will be assigned to the 24th Tactical Air Support Squadron at Nellis. The unit is tasked with maintaining standards in close air support and forward air control — airborne.
The 65th AGRS previously flew F-15C/D Eagles, but was inactivated in September 2014. According to the Secretary of the Air Force, the move to bring the F-35 into the aggressor community will allow the air force to ‘repurpose early-production F-35s to help train airmen for the high-end fight.’ The aircraft transfers will take place as new F-35As arrive at Eglin beginning in early 2022.
A full report on the Nellis aggressors will appear in the forthcoming July issue of Combat Aircraft, including an exclusive interview with the commander of the 64th AGRS.
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