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The high-tech stealth F-35A made its combat debut against... a cave
In an event two decades in the making, the Air Force's variant of the F-35 has finally flown its first combat mission.
Two F-35As from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, attacked an ISIS tunnel network and weapons cache in northeast Iraq on Tuesday, according to U.S. Air Forces Central Command.
No information was immediately available on Tuesday about how successful the strike was.
While the mission marks a milestone in the F-35's long development, it also begs the question: Why is the Air Force using its most sophisticated and expensive aircraft, which is designed to penetrate advanced Russian and Chinese air defense systems, to blow up a cave?
"The F-35A has sensors everywhere, it has advanced radar, and it is gathering and fusing all this information from the battlespace in real time," Lt. Col. Yosef Morris, 4th Fighter Squadron commander, said in a news release. "Now it has the ability to take that information and share it with other F-35s or even other fourth generation aircraft in the same package that can also see the integrated picture."
Monday's mission comes after a Marine Corps F-35 squadron bombed both ISIS and the Taliban last year while deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Essex. Before that, Israel became the first country to use the F-35 in combat last May when its version of the Joint Strike Fighter conducted airstrikes in Syria.
The F-35As that flew Tuesday's strike were with the active-duty 388th and reserve 491th Fighter Wings, which arrived at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, for a training exercise.
It is possible the F-35As will fly more combat missions during the remainder of their time in the U.S. Central Command region, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
WATCH NEXT: Did The Yak 141 Influence The F-35?
U.S. Army aviation officials have launched an effort to restore full air assault capability to the 101st Airborne Division — a capability the Screaming Eagles have been without since 2015.
The U.S. military's withdrawal from northeast Syria is looking more like Dunkirk every day.
On Wednesday, the U.S. military had to call in an airstrike on one of its own ammunition dumps in northern Syria because the cargo trucks required to safely remove the ammo are needed elsewhere to support the withdrawal, Task & Purpose has learned.
Retired two-star Navy. Adm. Joe Sestak is the highest ranking — and perhaps, least known — veteran who is trying to clinch the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.
Sestak has decades of military experience, but he is not getting nearly as much media attention as fellow veterans Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Another veteran, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) has dropped out of the race.
After preliminary fitness test scores leaked in September, many have voiced concerns about how women would fare in the new Army Combat Fitness Test.
The scores — which accounted for 11 of the 63 battalions that the ACFT was tested on last year — showed an overall failure rate of 84% for women, and a 70% pass rate for men.
But Army leaders aren't concerned about this in the slightest.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Three U.S. diplomats have been removed from a train and briefly questioned by Russian authorities in the sensitive Arctic shipyard city of Severodvinsk, near the site of a mysterious explosion in August that killed five nuclear workers.
Russia's Interfax news agency reported on October 16 that the diplomats were taken off the train that runs between Severodvinsk and Nyonoksa around 6 p.m. on October 14.