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F-35A undergoes aerial tests at MHAFB

Posted at 5:10 PM, Feb 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 19:20:46-05

The F-35A has been touted by the Pentagon as the ultimate fighter jet which will replace the A-10 Thunderbolt.

The Pentagon has deployed the plane to Mountain Home to conduct test runs for further analysis.

There have been issues involving the F-35A being over budget, serious and potential issues from ejector seats and bugs within the software.

When the F-35A was tested in July of 2015, the plane was outmaneuvered in a dogfight by a 40-year-old F-16 but pilots say a lot has changed since then.

"We have done visual fight tactics and learned lots of new maneuvers," Maj. Nick Ihde explained said. “The bulk of the testing of the F-35 here at Mountain Home Air Force Base is over. The last flight will take place on Monday and the final report on the test won’t come out until this fall."

Not only is the plane’s performance being tested in the air, test crews are on the ground to develop plans for maintenance and group support structure.

"We are a test unit.  We do a lot of stuff for the first time. And whether it's at Edwards or California, we do the job day in day out," Msgt. Matthew Inman said.

Test pilots say the Air Force brought the F-35 to Mountain Home because of the people and access to a nearby training range.