Technology, military might displayed at Farnborough

FARNBOROUGH, England — The commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa highlighted his command’s efforts in support of NATO partners during a Farnborough International Airshow opening day ceremony July 11.

“We hope to provide insight to the industry partners who provide the equipment and technologies (that drive) our tactics, techniques and procedures to achieve not only the United States’ aspirations but also those for the alliance and coalition,” said Gen. Frank Gorenc, who also heads the NATO Allied Air Command. 

Of interest to international stakeholders and the U.S. for national security is the F-35 Lightning II, which made its much-anticipated debut at Farnborough.

As observers gathered with cameras in hand, an F-35B variant demonstrated some of its short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities.

“It was mind-blowing to see it hover in that position that long,” said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Hoffman, an aviation survival technician with the U.S. Asset Project Office at Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

The U.S. Coast Guard attended the air show as part of its yearlong Centennial of Flight activities, commemorating their first hundred years of aviation history.

Representing 55 countries from around the globe, almost 180 aircraft flew demonstrations or had static displays. The U.S. military, which has about 80 aircrew members involved this year, has participated in FIA since its inception.

“It’s nice to inform the public, and we were impressed with the Royal (Air Force) Air Cadets’ aviation knowledge,” Hoffman said.

Other U.S. military aircraft on static display or flying included the F/A-18F Super Hornet, F-16C Fighting Falcon, UH-60 Blackhawk, C-27 Spartan, C-130J Hercules and P-8 Poseidon.

“Our Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members are clearly proud to discuss their mission and show off their aircraft,” said Col. Todd Pavich, the USAFE “air boss” for the air show. “And industry is clearly proud of the equipment they build that is critical to our success.”

Twenty-three Defense Department general officers, senior executive service members and distinguished visitors, as well as 320 U.S. government officials also attended international bilateral discussions and visited some of the 1,500 exhibit displays.

The air show is expected to draw more than 100,000 people from July 11-17.

“The (United Kingdom) people are very aviation-savvy,” Pavich said. “Their industry, along with many others here, is very advanced and the people are genuinely friendly. It’s a pleasant location to be.”

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