The U.S. Air Force’s 34th Fighter Squadron and 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit will transition F-35A Lightning II operations to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, as the runway at Hill AFB closes for construction.
More than 250 Airmen from the active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings and up to 24 aircraft will make the trip over a two-month period.
Hill AFB’s runway is undergoing a $43.6-million repair and expansion. The unit will continue flying there until the current phase of runway construction is complete, which is scheduled for early August.
While at Mountain Home AFB, the squadron will conduct normal operations, as well as participate in exercises and integrate with other Air Force units.
They are scheduled to fly every weekday that is not a holiday or scheduled down day. The majority of the flying will take place around the base and the range complex with no flying projected near Boise, Idaho, or its surrounding areas.
The 34th FS also operated out of Mountain Home in June 2016 during a mock deployment used to gauge readiness prior to the Air Force declaring initial operational capability for the F-35A.
The 34th FS departs as the 4th FS is deployed to the Middle East and the 421st FS is deployed to Europe. This is the first time all three squadrons have been gone since the wing received the F-35A in 2015.
The 388th and 419th FW are the Air Force’s only combat-capable F-35 units, maintaining the jets in a total force partnership that utilizes the strengths of both components.