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Utah-based F-35A squadron deploys to US base in Italy

FILE PHOTO: An F-35 aircraft is displayed at Hill Air Force Base on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Hill AFB confirmed its first case of COVID-19 March 20. (Photo: Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AP) — A squadron of F-35A jet fighters from Hill Air Force Base in Utah has deployed to Aviano Air Base in Italy.

A statement released by Hill officials said the squadron arrived Friday and will participate in exercises and conduct training with other Europe-based aircraft during a deployment expected to last several weeks.

The statement said the deployment is part of a “theater security package” in which U.S. forces rotate to Europe to deter adversaries and assure allies of the U.S. commitment to regional security.

The statement says the deployment is the second to Europe by a Hill-based F-35A squadron and that the first took place in 2017 when a squadron deployed to a British base in England.