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F-35 pilots act as air aggressors for first time at Nellis exercise

By
Zarrin Ahmed
U.S. Air Force Col. Scott Mills, F-35 Lightning II pilot assigned to the 64th Aggressor Squadron, performs pre-flight checks before launching to participate in Red Flag 21-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., on Tuesday. Photo by Zachary Rufus/U.S. Air Force
U.S. Air Force Col. Scott Mills, F-35 Lightning II pilot assigned to the 64th Aggressor Squadron, performs pre-flight checks before launching to participate in Red Flag 21-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., on Tuesday. Photo by Zachary Rufus/U.S. Air Force

Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Blue air pilots went head-to-head with F-35 Lightning II aggressor pilots for the first time at the Red Flag-Nellis air exercise.

The exercise was held on the Nevada Test and Training range this week, testing pilots in more difficult training scenarios.

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The aggressors provided a "realistic and robust adversary" that the blue pilots had to fight against, according to 57th Operations Group commander Scott Mills.

"The aggressor nation here is one of the best in the world at finding those niches, finding those gaps and seams, and absolutely punishing those mistakes that blue air makes," Mills said in a press release.

The F-35s are being introduced to expand on the F-16 Falcon's aggressor capabilities, representing a more advanced enemy.

The aircraft have faced problems in software updates and increased costs over the past months.

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