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.


 
 

 
Airman 1st Class James Hensley

Luke cuts ribbon on F-35 Academic Training Center

Airman 1st Class James Hensley Gen. Robin Rand, Air Education and Training Command commander, cuts the ceremonial ribbon Oct. 9 marking the completion of the academic training center building at Luke Air Force Base. The buildin...
 
 
141008-F-HT977-008

Airmen get new ‘Community Commons’

Renovations on Bldg. 700, which houses the Health and Wellness Center, will take place April 2015 through spring 2016 at Luke Air Force Base. Subway and the barbershop will remain open during construction. Other amenities, such...
 
 

News Briefs October 17, 2014

Keep good mental health Calling all Airmen! Sleep disturbances such as insomnia and nightmares can affect people personally and professionally. Reaching out to a medical provider is a step in the right direction to good health. Courtesy of the 56th Medical Group Haunted house The 56th Mission Support Group is featuring Operation: Haunted Block House...
 

 
Courtesy photo

56th RMO: Tip of spear on BMGR, aux field

Courtesy photo Security contractors seized an all-terrain vehicle pulling a trailer loaded with illegal drugs smuggled across the border on the Barry M. Goldwater Range. Drug smugglers will often abandon their load when being p...
 
 

Justice Report

The following is a list of Articles 15 and administrative action issued at Luke Air Force Base in September: 56th Fighter Wing Articles 15 • A senior airman received an Article 15 for violating a lawful general order and making a false official statement. The member received a reduction to the rank of airman first...
 
 
Staff Sgt. Staci Miller

Cardinal’s Fitzgerald coaches mini ‘Bolts

Senior Airman Devante Williams Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinal wide receiver, avoids being tackled by a participant, during the Larry Fitzgerald Football Camp Monday at Luke Air Force Base. The camp hosted about 130 military...
 




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