Air Force's F-35A deploys to Middle East for first time

The U.S. Air Force's F-35A variant has officially deployed to the Middle East.

Air Forces Central Command announced Monday that F-35 fifth-generation fighters from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, have deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates to keep watch in the region.

It's the first time Air Force F-35s have deployed to the Middle East.

"We are adding a cutting-edge weapons system to our arsenal that significantly enhances the capability of the coalition," Lt. Gen. Joseph T. Guastella, commander of AFCENT, said in the release. "The sensor fusion and survivability this aircraft provides to the joint force will enhance security and stability across the theater and deter aggressors."

"The F-35A provides our nation air dominance in any threat," added Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. "When it comes to having a 'quarterback' for the coalition joint force, the interoperable F-35A is clearly the aircraft for the leadership role."

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