Air Force

October 17, 2013

50 year old aircraft vital to Raptor training

Tags:
Capt. Jeffrey ‘Heat’ Vanderbilt
325th Training Support Squadron
(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. J S. Wilcox)
An F-22 Raptor and a T-38 Talon fly above Tyndall Sept. 25. The T-38s are part of 325th Training Support Squadron and act as adversaries in simulated air-to-air combat missions, which are integral parts of the training of F-22 pilot students.

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – A T-38 Talon bridged five decades and generations of technological development to merge at 400 knots with the F-22 Raptor near Tyndall Air Force Base recently.

“MOJO 1 is engaged, Bullseye 323/24,” said Lt. Col. Christopher ‘Moto’ Davis, 325th Training Support Squadron Adversary Air Operations officer.

The Raptor and trainer jet were beak to beak, forcing the pursuing trainer to make a quick decision.

“MOJO 1, PRESS!” his wingman said over the fight frequency.

Colonel Davis puts his 1960’s T-38 Talon in a full afterburner, maximum G-defensive turn to try to survive mere seconds more against the world’s most advanced fighter jet.

The fight is over as suddenly as it started at the hands of two simulated heat-seeking missiles, AA-10D’s known as “ducks,” capable of being employed even by early generation MiGs. This is not the typical end to an F-22/T-38 sortie, but one that will yield many valuable lessons for the basic course, or B-course, student flying the F-22.

When new F-22 pilots arrive at Tyndall to learn air-to-air combat techniques during their B-course training, they often find themselves facing much more experienced pilots executing the Adversary Air mission in the T-38.

The T-38 is a supersonic jet trainer flown by the fighter pilots of the 325th TRSS. The squadron’s motto is, “Air dominance begins here. Own the sky!” The goal is not to defeat F-22’s, but provide a world-class training platform and threat replication for F-22 pilots.

On the rare occasion a Raptor student makes a mistake in the air, it’s the adversary pilot’s job to punish those mistakes in order to highlight the learning points.

Adversary pilots come from various backgrounds, including the F-16 Viper, F-15 Eagle, F-15E Strike Eagle and F-22. Experience levels range from captains with hundreds of flying hours to colonels with more than 3,000. The TRSS provides a disciplined and professional adversary air, or “red air” as it’s commonly known to fighter pilots, as part of the 325th Fighter Wing’s F-22 training mission.

“The more we are able to capitalize on their mistakes in training, the less likely [the pilots] are to make that mistake in actual combat,” said Capt. John ‘Shack’ Newman, 325th TRSS pilot.

Most would argue that the T-38 is no match for the F-22, and they’re right, but at the same time, several advantages exist.

“There are many benefits to using the T-38s,” said Lt. Col. Jason ‘Bondo’ Costello, 325th TRSS commander and F-22 instructor/T-38 adversary air pilot. “It’s a very economical alternative to using a Raptor, and the effective and efficient use of the F-22s is critical to the Unites States’ national security interests.”

Cost savings alone are substantial. The price of flying a T-38 is approximately $3,300 per flying hour, as opposed to the F-22 at approximately $22,000 per hour. Additionally, the F-22, like any other frontline fighter aircraft, has a limited lifecycle of flying hours and sorties. Using T-38s to fly adversary air missions saves the F-22 hours for pilot training and combat sorties, thereby increasing the lifespan of the fleet.

The program started at Tyndall in the summer of 2012 with five initial T-38 cadre. Now it has 27 pilots, all of whom are very experienced fighter pilots, and 10 aircraft. An additional 10 T-38s are due to arrive this fall. With the arrival of additional F-22s from Holloman AFB, New Mexico, the T-38’s and the 325th TRSS increased support becomes more vital.

Due to the number of available T-38s, the 325th TRSS was able to orchestrate multiple training scenarios for multiple aircrafts, which is just one of the benefits of flying against the more cost efficient jets, said 1st Lt. Austin ‘Fisheye’ Mcintosh from Santa Barbara, Calif.

“It was great to have the opportunity to fly against multiple adversaries,” he said. “It’s virtually impossible to see a black painted T-38 visually, as they’re much smaller than an F-22 or F-15, especially against a dark background such as the ocean. It was an invaluable experience to have their support as adversaries.”

“It’s important to train future F-22 pilots against a professional adversary force in preparation for their transition to the combat air force in their next assignment,” said Lt. Col. Pete ‘HOSS’ Harris, 325th TRSS Air Adversary pilot. “It’s really rewarding seeing F-22 B-course students’ progress from their first sortie learning to fly the jet to becoming highly competent F-22 wingmen in the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft.”

In training, everyone goes home. Tyndall’s Adversary Air pilots say they go home knowing they played their part in training the future generation of air superiority fighter pilots.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

9/11 Tower Challenge held at UofA

The Never Forgotten 9/11 Tower Challenge was held at the University of Arizona Football Stadium on Sept. 11. Approximately 350 participants, including personnel from D-M, attempted the challenge of climbing 2,071 stairs. This f...
 
 

Core elements work together

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — The Air Force has built a suicide prevention program based on 11 overlapping core elements that stress community involvement and leadership in the prevention of suicides in the military: Leadership involvement — Air Force leaders actively support the entire spectrum of suicide prevention initiatives in the community. Addressing suicide...
 
 

Keep sports safe

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Playing sports is fun and it helps people keep in shape and relieve stress. However, if one is not careful, playing sports can result in injuries that keep Airmen on the sideline and out of work. “The main cause of sports-related injuries is over aggressive play and people going...
 

 
DoD

Ice bucket challenge – What does DOD say?

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — If you have been following social media lately, you’ve seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge all over your newsfeed and Instagram. This has become an internet phenomenon in which people get doused with ice water to raise money to combat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease....
 
 

Air Force Enlisted Village: Not just a place to live, a place to call home

I first visited the Air Force Enlisted Village as a young first sergeant in 2009, when I was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. I went to visit with the Tyndall Active Airmen’s Association, Tyndall’s E-1 to E-4 Professional Association, and was amazed at what I saw. This was also the first time I...
 
 

Advise Airmen of rights before asking questions

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Every day supervisors are faced with challenging scenarios and situations that require them to engage in efforts to help their Airmen. When this engagement is due to a negative act such as theft, damage to property or other possible legal violations, we must resist the instinct to question them...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin