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US Air Force launches 52 f-35s in rapid succession as part of planned exercise

Published: Updated:

The US Air Force (USAF) launched 52 F-35s on Monday in rapid succession in a show of military might as part of an exercise out of its Hill Air Force Base to test combat readiness to deploy fighter jets en mass.

The exercise has been planned for months to test the capabilities in the areas of personnel accountability, aircraft generation, ground operations, and flight operations, according to a statement posted on the USAF 388th Fighter Wing’s Facebook page.

“The exercise, which was planned for months, demonstrated their ability to employ a large force of F-35As – testing readiness in the areas of personnel accountability, aircraft generation, ground operations, flight operations, and combat capability against air and ground targets,” the statement read.

The fighter wings also performed an “elephant walk” before the launch of the jets, a USAF term for the taxiing of military aircraft right before takeoff.

The delivery of a 78th F-35A to Hill Air Force Base last month completed the planned roster of the installation in northern Utah, according to the Associated Press.

A day earlier, US President Donald Trump tweeted that the “United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment” and that if necessary he would use it to hit Iran “very fast and very hard.”

Tensions have been running high across the Middle East after the US carried out a drone strike that killed Iran’s top commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Friday.

Iran has vowed "severe revenge" for their top commander’s death while Trump said there would be "major" retaliation if Tehran hits back.