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F-35A Red Flag 2020 Night Operations (Photos)

The first Red Flag air combat exercise for 2020 officially wrapped up Friday, Feb. 14. As visiting aircraft make their way home, some great images are coming out from the Air Force showcasing just how impressive the F-35A’s operations are to behold.

F-35A Night Photos

Nellis AFB, outside of Las Vegas, NV, is often a magical place for those who are inspired by aviation, but Red Flag days & nights specifically can be especially impressive.

F135 engines by Pratt & Whitney fired up, and ready to taxi out. These incredibly powerful engines are a fundamental part of why the F-35 is such a capable platform.

Cleared to taxi. At the end of 2019, Lockheed Martin delivered a total of 78 F-35A fifth-generation jets to Hill AFB for the US Air Force. Before seeing it in person, the force and power of a full complement of F-35s is hard to imagine. However, out at Red Flag 2020, with plenty others deployed and plenty others back home at Hill AFB, the reality of how game-changing this equipment is starts to set in.

Lockheed Martin plans to deliver 141 more F-35 Lightning IIs to the US Military in 2020.

Taking a close look at just one of these fighters in the dark of night is compelling. Night photography on the ramp typically requires longer shutter speeds, which can capture some interesting details. First in the foreground you can see Airmen at work to the left of the airframe. But also check out the afterburner streak heading up the horizon on the right edge of the frame.

Watch F-35A Fighters at Red Flag 2020

Pilots and maintainers in the 421st Fighter Squadron fly the F-35A Lightning II in their first Red Flag exercise together. The exercise is meant to give at least 10 combat-representative sorties to younger pilots to better prepare them for real combat against advanced adversaries. The 421st Fighter Squadron is the most recent squadron to transition to the F-35A in the 388th Fighter Wing.