On April 30, 2019, two US air force F-35A Joint Fight Strikers saw combat for the first time. Their target? ISIS munitions sites in Iraq.
According to U.S. Air Forces Central Command, the airstrike occurred at Wadi Ashai, in north-east Iraq.
The strike came following a news release on April 24 from the U.S. Central Command stating that ISIS fighters “have been attempting to move munitions, equipment and personnel” to Wadi Ashai in order to “set conditions for their resurgence,” prompting a counter-offensive by Iraqi Security Forces and supported by Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, according to a report on the website Defense News.
“The F-35As conducted the airstrike using a Joint Direct Attack Munition to strike an entrenched Daesh (ISIS) tunnel network and weapons cache deep in the Hamrin Mountains, a location able to threaten friendly forces,” Defense News reported.
The operation, conducted in Wadi Ashai, Iraq, was meant to thwart a buildup of munitions and forces that could threaten coalition fighters in the area, according to a report on website military.com.
According to a report from the National Interest, at least six F-35s from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings on April 12, 2019 travelled from their home station at Hill Air Force Base in Utah to Al Dhafra air base in the United Arab Emirates to participate in coalition air operations.
The F-35A Joint Strike fighter, produced by Lockheed Martin, went overtime in production. Australia took possession of its first two Fifth Generation F-35A Joint Strike Fighter jets late last year, which arrived at Williamtown Army Base.
One of the first combat strikes using the F-35A Joint Fight Striker was by Israel last year against a site in Syria.