Business

September 11, 2012

First F-35 training commander: ‘this jet is our future’

Tags:
SrA. Christina Brownlow
Elgin AFB, Fla.

Lt. Col. Lee Kloos, 58th Fighter Squadron commander, prepares to exit an F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter, after a successful sortie May 31, 2012. Kloos is the first non-developmental test pilot to fly the JSF, and now trains other 33rd Fighter Wing initial cadre pilots to fly the F-35.

Five months of flying the Air Force’s newest fighter jet has left one airman convinced of the aircraft’s substantial combat capability.

Lt. Col. Lee Kloos is the commander of the 58th Fighter Squadron, the Defense Department’s first F-35 Lightning II training squadron, located at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Kloos, who spent more than 2,100 hours flying F-16 Fighting Falcons, said many of America’s fighter jets are aging and the costs associated with maintaining and upgrading them increases with each passing year.

The F-35 is the world’s first multi-role stealth fighter that is designed to replace aging stalwarts such as the Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and the Marine Corps’ AV-8B Harrier II.

As an aircraft that meets the mission needs of multiple services in addition to those of international partner nations, the F-35 provides a support network that enables many opportunities for cost sharing and savings, Kloos said.

But long-term savings are just one of the benefits to training with pilots from other services and other countries.

Kloos said fighter pilots from different services use different terms even for things as basic as flying in formation.

When he participates in large training exercises that involve a variety of aircraft from multiple services and countries, a lot of time is spent discussing one another’s capabilities and how to best work together.

Future large-scale exercises may still see many participant nations, but the variety of aircraft will decrease as F-35s cover the flight line, though many will not have an American Flag painted on the fuselage.

Kloos said the common frame of reference within the F-35 flying community will have a real impact on air combat.

“We’ll speak the same language when it comes to executing tactics,” he said.

He also said the impact extends all the way to the top Airman in the fight, the combined forces air component commander.

Much like in large-scale exercises, the extensive variety of aircraft under the air commander’s purview requires an encyclopedia’s worth of knowledge in order to assign the aircraft to the various day-to-day combat taskings in the most efficient manner.

As more and more of the multi-role F-35s are added to the inventories of the U.S. and its allies, a commander will be able to shift his focus to other war fighting priorities.

While Kloos said the F-35 provides substantial value, it also a joy to fly.

“It’s really an easy airplane to fly,” said Kloos. “It’s very stable and well balanced and it feels very light on its feet compared to how it appears.”

Kloos said the aircraft was designed for the new generation of cadets who grew up playing video games.

Compared to the fighters it will replace, the F-35 has a very clean cockpit. The walls of switches common to many aircraft have been moved to two touch screens, which have interfaces that operate like many smart phones.

And its combination of superior range, cutting-edge avionics and next-generation sensor package gives the F-35 much more combat effectiveness than its predecessors.

He said the technology allows pilots to be more survivable and more lethal than they were in previous aircraft while performing the same missions.

“The F-35 is here, it’s real and for the Air Force, this jet is our future,” said Kloos. “It will continue to provide air dominance for America and our allies, and most importantly, over our troops no matter where they are in the world.”




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


 
 

 

Headlines April 18, 2014

Business: Lockheed to Lose 17 F-35s Under Automatic Pentagon Cuts - Pentagon will cut 17 of the 343 F-35 fighters it planned to buy from Lockheed Martin in fiscal 2016 through 2019 unless Congress repeals automatic budget cuts, according to a new Defense Department report. DOD looking for ways not to break MH-60R helo deal - The...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 15, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,802 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
LM-F35-hours

F-35 fleet surpasses 15,000 flying hours

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.  “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is e...
 

 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 
 

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

Ground controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m., PDT, April 17. LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler telescope discovers first Earth-size planet in ‘habitable zone’

Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four inner planets, seen lined up...
 




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>