US conducts joint F-35 jet fighter exercise over Mediterranean

As part of the international coalition's continued efforts to counter threats to the stability and security of the Middle East region, the US participated in an air exercise over the Eastern Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday (June 25th), the US Air Force said Wednesday.

F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft from the US, UK and Israel participated in Exercise Tri-Lightning, it said.

The exercise was a one-day defensive counter air exercise involving friendly and adversary aircraft from the participating countries and consisted of active and passive air defense operations.

The US Air Force F-35As flew from al-Dhafra Air Base, UAE, while the Royal Air Force F-35Bs flew from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, and the Israeli Air Force F-35Is flew from Nevatim Air Base, Israel.

On Sunday, Britain announced it had successfully completed the first operational mission of its F-35B.

The jet, which is just over 15.5 meters long with a wingspan of 35 feet, flew alongside Typhoon aircraft over the skies of Iraq and Syria on Sunday, "as part of the ongoing fight against ISIS," the UK Ministry of Defence confirmed.

The operational debut follows Exercise Lightning Dawn, which saw the jets build up their capability as part of a training exercise in Cyprus.

Earlier this month, the US and UK naval forces also conducted routine bilateral mine counter-measures training in the Arabian Gulf from June 10th to the 20th.

This recurring series of maritime exercises brings US and UK mine counter-measures forces together for the third time this year.

"Integrated training such as this exercise focuses on addressing mine warfare threats to the freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in international waterways," said Capt. Andy Lamb, Royal Navy, deputy commodore of US 5th Fleet's Combined Task Force 52.

"Alongside our regional partners and allies we maintain a high-readiness force equipped and organised to perform this mission if called on," he said.

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