Local

June 14, 2013

Luke looks back at F-35 mission

Tags:
Tech. Sgt. JASMINE REIF
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The pilot and crew chief salute each other as the F-16 Fighting Falcon taxies toward the runway for another sortie Sept. 6, 2012, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

With an average of 106 takeoffs per day and an inventory of 138 F-16 Fighting Falcons, it would have been easy to not notice a few jets missing from the Luke Air Force Base flightline. Over the past two years Luke AFB Airmen have been supporting the F-35 mission at Eglin AFB, Fla.

According to Col. John Hanna, 56th Operations Group commander, the F-35 required a chase aircraft and the initial cadre of F-35 pilots needed to remain current and qualified in a fighter aircraft, and sending four F-16s fulfilled both needs.

“Two years ago the 33rd Fighter wing didn’t have aircraft assigned to them, so it was decided that Luke would support them with F-16s and the appropriate maintenance personnel,” Hanna said. “The requirement to stay current was removed. They acquired their own aircraft so our support was no longer needed, but over the past two years our Airmen have accomplished the mission with outstanding results.”

The positive impact made by Luke support was seen both on the fligthline and in the community with the following accomplishments:

  • The F-16s enabled low-risk startup of F-35 flying operations in May 2012, leading to ready-for-training approval in December 2012.
  • On-time completion of first F-35 conventional takeoff and landing block 1B course in March 2013
  • Positive completion of the 33rd FW F-35 strategic communication plan
  • Captured invaluable F-35 vehicle system and mission systems data for initial F-35 tactics, techniques and procedures manuals
  • Executed successful honorary commander incentive program to help quell local concerns about the F-35’s noise footprint

Even after Eglin AFB began receiving a few F-35s, the F-16s were still required for a time.

“One example of how Luke Airmen helped accomplish the mission was if two F-35s were scheduled to fly (one instructor and one upgrading pilot) and the instructor’s jet had a problem, having the F-16s allowed the instructor to simply shut down and jump in the back seat of one of the F-16s to complete the mission,” Hanna said. “Otherwise the entire mission would have to be cancelled. Finally, the F-16s evolved to providing adversary support for the first formal class of F-35 pilots.”

While the 56th OG didn’t send pilots, the 56th Maintenance Group sent approximately 40 maintainers from the flightline and backshops, who rotated out to Eglin every 30 to 60 days.

“Eglin had a few F-16s on the test side, but Luke F-16s were specifically tasked to support the F-35 mission,” said Col. Victor Mora, 56th MXG commander. “Our accomplishments far outweighed a few manning and parts issues over the past couple of years. The maintainers supported 1,717 sorties, which resulted in 30 trained F-35 pilots.”

The Air Force mission is not accomplished by individual units, but by working together.

“The addition of Luke F-16s and maintainers to our team here at Eglin was invaluable in helping jumpstart F-35A flight training operations at the integrated training center,” said Col. Stephen Jost, 33d Operations Group commander. “Quite simply, we would not be as far along in our mission without the help of Airmen from across our Air Force working together to get the job done.”




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


 
 

 
Pg-1-photo-150612-F-EC705-058

Emerald Knights go out with bang

Emerald Knights watch a burning piano during the 308th Fighter Squadron inactivation party June 12 at Luke Air Force Base. The 308th FS and aircraft maintenance unit have packed up and are transitioning to the 314th FS standing...
 
 

News Briefs June 26, 2015

607th ACS change of command Lt. Col. Charles Jones will relinquish command of the 607th Air Control Squadron to Lt. Col. Jerald Canny in a ceremony at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Hangar 999.   CMS change of command Maj. Scott Hall will relinquish command of the 56th Component Maintenance Squadron to Maj. Anthony Sutton in...
 
 
5_Courtesy-photo

Monsoon season blows in storms, rain, dust

Courtesy photo Arizona is known for being sunny with clear skies for the majority of the year, but every year “it” happens. As the clouds roll in, the sky darkens with thunderbolts streaming overhead, and the first drops of...
 

 

Clinic responds to shortage with changes

The Luke Air Force Base Pediatrics Clinic is undergoing a shortage of provider staffing due to humanitarian mission support, separations and a decrease of providers from five to four. This manning issue has impacted appointments available to children as well as increased the wait times to be seen by the clinic. The 56th Medical Group...
 
 
Senior Airman Devante Williams

CDC mission includes playtime

Senior Airman Devante Williams Danielle Gatlin, 56th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center assistant teacher, watches children during recess June 11 at the CDC at Luke Air Force Base. The CDC accepts children with res...
 
 
18_150612-F-EC705-053

Photo essay: Emerald Knights go out with a bang

Tech. Sgt. Tim Boyer 308th FS jets line up to launch from Luke AFB June 12 on their way to Holloman AFB.   Staff Sgt. Staci Miller Pilots flying F-16s from Luke AFB to Holloman donned the 314th FS Warhawks patch.   Se...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>