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 October 1, 2014

Veterans: Substantial VA staff will face discipline - A substantial number of VA employees will face punishment for the veterans treatment scandal, the new national commander of the American Legion predicted Sept. 30, indicating that the slow pace of discipline has more to do with the hoops the department must jump through than it does a...
 
 

News Briefs October 1, 2014

Egypt president gives army control of arms imports The Egyptian president has amended a law, giving the country’s army control over weapons and ammunition imports. The Sept. 30 statement from the presidency says Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi changed articles stipulating that a permit for weapons’ imports has to be granted by the Interior Ministry, which is in...
 
 
atk-test

ATK successfully tests Orion launch abort motor igniter

NASA and ATK successfully completed a static test of the launch abort motor igniter for the Orion crew capsule’s Launch Abort System. Conducted at ATK’s facility in Promontory, Utah, this test is the next step towa...
 

 
uav-coalition

Small UAV coalition launched to advance commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles

Leading technology companies Oct. 1 formally announced the formation of the Small UAV Coalition to help pave the way for commercial, philanthropic, and civil use of small unmanned aerial vehicles in the United States and abroad...
 
 
Navy photograph

NAWCWD manned for unmanned systems

Navy photograph A rail launch is performed during Integrator unmanned aerial vehicle testing at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division China Lake, Calif. Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division scientists, engineers, techn...
 
 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

NASA employees go ‘above and beyond’

Courtesy photograph NASA Chief Scientist Albion Bowers, Christopher Miller and Nelson Brown receive the Exception Engineering Achievement Medal at Armstrong Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The prestigious award ...
 




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>