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Show of Force – 52 F-35 Lightning II Mass Launch at Hill AFB

The US Air Force conducted a mass launch exercise Jan. 6 that included dozens of the force’s latest fighter jet, the F-35A Lightning II.

Mass Launch Dozens of F-35

After reaching a full combat force of 78 F-35s at Hill AFB in Dec. 2019, this is the Air Force’s first opportunity to showcase just how impressive this collection really is.

The exercise has been planned for months, according to the Air Force. However interestingly the exercise only involved explicitly 52 jets. While some are currently deployed, it’s unknown how many F-35s are at Hill AFB.

The Air Force didn’t comment on whether the number of fighters, 52, was intentionally selected to reference the 52 American hostages taken during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. This has been a common reference alluded to by the Presidents of both countries during heightened tensions this week.

Mass Lightning Launch Reactions

More views of the massive Elephant Walk at Hill AFB. 52 of the most powerful and advanced stealth fighters jets in the world, all armed, fueled and fully ready for combat on one runway.

Video from an earlier Elephant Walk exercise in 2018 at Hill AFB that involved tens of fighters as well, but was not nearly the size of this week’s unprecedented show of force.