By Associated Press - Monday, January 6, 2020

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — 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.

“That’s completely coincidental,” Ebner said.

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