With another 3,000 US troops preparing to deploy to the Middle East and six Boeing B-52 Stratofortress nuclear-capable bombers headed to a major US military base at Deigo Garcia, 52 stealth fighter jets conducted a Combat Power Exercise Monday amid escalating tensions between the US and Iran.
Also known as the Elephant Walk exercise, 52 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters carrying missiles and bombs were taxiing down a runway at Hill Air Force base in Utah on Monday.
Elephant walks are generally conducted right before a minimum interval takeoff (MITO), a technique used by the US Air Force (USAF) to scramble all jets to take off at twelve- and fifteen-second intervals.
The objective of the exercise is to get all fighters and bombers in the air within fifteen minutes of an alert of an incoming missile attack.
"The exercise, which was planned for months, demonstrated their ability to employ a large force of F-35As – testing readiness in the areas of personnel accountability, aircraft generation, ground operations, flight operations, and combat capability against air and ground targets. A little more than four years after receiving their first combat-coded F-35A Lightning II aircraft, Hill's fighter wings have achieved full warfighting capability," said the 388th Fighter Wing in a Facebook post.
From troop deployments to a show of force with B-52 bombers and stealth fighters, the Trump administration is sending a clear message to Iran.
Meanwhile, Iranian state media channels on Monday began "answering" US threats, broadcasting military "shows of force" against the United States to its population:
عاجل : التلفزيون الإيراني بث قبل قليل نشيد الحرب الإيرانية - العراقية في إشارة إلى حالة الحرب التي قد تشهدها المنطقة بعد مقتل سليماني . هذا النشيد ومترجم إلى اللغة العربية. pic.twitter.com/2NnNxYDOKW— محمد مجيد الأحوازي (@MohamadAhwaze) January 6, 2020
President Trump has already threatened an all-out attack on 52 sites inside Iran. The threat of war has never been greater, the world has dove into uncharted waters in the last week. All eyes on possible retaliation strike by Iran.