Weapons School F-35s

B11I6272.jpgThe local Nellis traffic gets a bit restricted by the exercise traffic when Red Flag is underway.  Get a mission in during the morning or wait for the gap between the afternoon and the evening evolutions to get airborne.  For those of us outside, they provide some additional aircraft to shoot.  They may also give some variety in types (although given how few types there are these days, not a lot).  Before the F-35 becomes ubiquitous in service and replaces the multiple F-16 units that currently participate, it is something a bit different.

B11I6235.jpgThe Weapons School has a bunch of F-35A jets now.  The first ones to arrive at Nellis were OT jets for operational test and evaluation.  Now the Weapons School is using them to develop tactics and employment.  The lines of the jets are a bit different from the Marine Corp F-35Bs that I shot at a previous exercise.  Without the lift fan, the back of the airframe is smoother while the canopy is blended into the spine in a different way that enhances visibility and fits with the different profile.  The jets were pretty active while I was there so I managed to get a few shots.  I had seen them during previous visits but, when on base we had been barred from shooting them and, while off base, I had always managed to be in the wrong place to get them.  While I am currently pleased to have got some shots, I will soon be used to seeing them around all over the place.

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