F-16 and F-35 fighter jets join forces for training over Vermont

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 4:53 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - F35s and F-16s are sharing the skies over Burlington.

An Air Force squadron of F-16s from South Carolina landed in Vermont on Wednesday and will be training with the Green Mountain Boys and their F-35s.

“An integration exercise with us and the F-35s,” said Capt. Gabriel Rodriguez of the 55th Fighter Squadron from Shaw Air Force Base.

“Just to make us better, as well,” said 1st Lt. Wingman Fred Hughes with the 134th Fighter Squadron.

We don’t know the exact details of their missions but we do know that they are training together to test the capabilities of the airmen while working out of a deployed, simulated remote location with minimal personnel.

“The goal is to see if we can operate and communicate effectively during our missions,” Rodriguez said.

“It’s basically just working with them. We both have things that we can do that they can’t do and vice versa, so we are able to integrate together with them all in the same air space,” Hughes said.

Not these jets, but F-16s previously called Burlington home before the newer and more advanced F-35s moved in.

“Having them be back and being able to train with them and how they do things, it’s definitely a lot to learn,” Hughes said.

It’s also important because the F-35 fighter jets will be taking over missions from the F-16s.

“So being able to learn from their past 30 years of experience and use that for us going forward just to make us better as well,” Hughes said.

But for now, this week in Vermont is valued time for everyone to learn.

“Can we operate? And in order to operate, we need to be able to communicate with each other,” Rodriguez said.

The pilots will continue their training together until June 30.

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Air Force squadron to train in Vermont with F-16s

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