U. S. Air Force reactivates Aggressor Squadron with F-35s painted in J-20 camouflage pattern

The United States Air Force reactivated the 65th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, with F-35A stealth fighters painted in the split camouflage pattern of the Chinese J-20.

According to the official website of the U.S Air Force, the 65th Aggressor Squadron has been reactivated on June 9 with a mission to recreate adversaries fifth-generation aerial warfare capabilities.

General Mark Kelly, the Air Combat Command Commander flew his F-15E Strike Eagle against the unit’s first F-35A Lightning II at the reactivation ceremony.

F-35A Lightning II fighters with the 65th Aggressor Squadron will help USAF pilots to better simulate stealth fighter threats from their opponents.

Col. Scott Mills, the 57th Operations Group Commander said that “Using the F-35 as an aggressor aircraft allow pilots to train against low observable threats similar to what our opponents are developing”

According to the official website of the U.S Air Force, the Aggressor Project was started in the 1970s, and the 65th Aggressor Squadron was used to simulate Soviet fighter jets air combat capability from the 1970s to 1980s.

Previously, the 65th “aggressor” Squadron began to use F-15 fighter jets to conduct technical and tactical simulations of potential opponents in 2005 but was disbanded in 2014 due to budget constraints. It was not until May 9, 2019, that the U.S. Air Force announced plans to rebuild the 65th “Invader” Squadron with F-35 Lightning II fighter jets in response to the challenges of fifth-generation aircraft, and officially regrouped on June 9 this year.

What are Aggressor Squadrons?

An aggressor squadron is a squadron that is trained to act as an opponent airforce. Aggressor squadrons use opponent tactics and techniques to give a realistic simulation of air combat.

Aggressor aircrafts in the United States are painted in military camouflage schemes, matching the colors of many Soviet and Russian aircrafts.

What is the 65th Aggressor Squadron?

The 65th Aggressor Squadron is a USAF Fighter Aggressor Unit which currently operates the F-35A stealth fighter. The squadron is assigned to the 57th Operations Group at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

The 65th Aggressor Squadron was inactivated on 26 September 2014 due to Year 2015 budget constraints imposed upon the Air Force that zero-lined the squadron’s budget. On 9 May 2019 US Air Force announced it planned to reactivate the 65th Aggressor Squadron with new aircraft, F-35A Lightning II. The squadron was formally reactivated on 9 June 2022.

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