F-35B joint strike fighter jet conducts aerial maneuvers

The US F-35 has entered combat for the first time

by Ryan Pickrell, Business Insider

The US has sent the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter into combat for the first time, CNN reported Thursday, citing defense officials.

A Marine Corps F-35B launched from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex conducted an airstrike in support of ground clearance operations on a fixed Taliban target in Afghanistan Thursday, according to a statement from US Naval Forces Central Command. The Essex arrived in the Middle East earlier this month, with the onboard F-35s being deployed for intelligence and surveillance operations in Somalia prior to operations in Afghanistan.

CNN’s Thursday report follows an earlier post from Tuesday indicating that the F-35 could be deployed for combat within the next few days. In the aftermath of a US F-35’s first combat mission, the Marine Corps released a video on Twitter showing the plane taking off from and landing on the Essex.

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