The U.S. Air Force conducted an exercise involving the launch of 52 fighter jets from a Utah air base, officials said.
Hill Air Force Base launched the F-35A Lightning II fighters over a 10-minute period around 11 a.m. Monday, The Standard-Examiner reports.
The 388th and 419th Fighter Wings conducted the combat exercise that sent the jets west to the Utah Test and Training Range to perform various missions.
Col. Michael Ebner, the 388th vice commander, said Monday’s exercise had been planned as a “culminating event” after the two fighter wings received their full complement of fighter jets.
While the effort was intended to demonstrate an ability to conduct large-scale combat deployment in a short time, it was not in direct response to the United States’ escalating situation with Iran, Ebner said.
President Donald Trump said on Saturday the United States has targeted 52 Iranian sites that it would strike if Iran attacks any Americans or any U.S. assets in response to Friday's U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.
“That’s completely coincidental,” Ebner said.