Defense

November 7, 2012

F-35 celebrates 500th sortie as program grows

Tags:
Maj. Karen Roganov
Eglin AFB, Fla.
Air Force photograph by MSgt. Jeremy T. Lock
F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter maintainers from the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., preflight the jet before taking off for a local training mission over the Emerald Coast Sept. 18, 2012.

The Air Force’s premier fighter, the F-35 Lightning II, surpassed its 500th sortie only 16 days after reaching the 400 mark and only 238 days from the beginning of the program.

Maj. Matthew Johnston of the 58th Fighter Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., completed the 500th combined sortie for both the F-35A and F-35B at the 33rd Fighter Wing Nov. 2, marking a continued progress in sortie generation rates since the wing started flight operations March 6.

“On Friday during our F-35A operational utility evaluation we hit the 500th flight in 16 days from the prior 400th combined sortie flown on Oct. 16,” said Col. Andrew Toth, commander for the 33rd Fighter Wing. “This is significant progress forward since it took 123 days to achieve the 100th combined sortie on July 12.”

“The joint team is focused on safe and effective flying to stand up their unit’s future operations and the increased amount of sorties and quicker turnaround time to maintain and turn jets is a simple byproduct of this.”

According to the maintenance squadron commander, the number of Air Force maintainers continues to grow as the program progresses. “When we first started F-35A flying you could count the uniformed maintainers trained on the system on one hand,” said Maj. Maurice Lee, commander, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “Now we have more than 100 Air Force maintainers trained up … I am very proud of their legacy aircraft expertise and newly-learned F-35 skills.”

While the Air Force’s A variant of the Lightning II was the jet flying the 500-sortie milestone, the Marine Corps’ B variant has been the other part of the team effort progressing the multi-role fighter forward for joint and partner nation fifth-generation air power.

“Both services’ efforts are a precursor to training other services and allies at the world’s only F-35 Integrated Training Center,” said Toth.

Currently two pilots from the United Kingdom are gearing up to begin classes in aircraft familiarity and simulator training at the F-35 Academic Training Center along with almost 20 Royal Air Force and Royal Navy maintainers who began through their country’s first courses Oct. 1.

“And next spring the Navy’s F-35 C variant will begin contributing to the sortie successes,” said Toth, who besides spearheading the joint and international efforts at Eglin, is also flying weekly joint strike fighter sorties.

The multi-role joint strike fighter is the centerpiece of the Defense Department’s future precision attack capability, designed to penetrate air defenses and deliver a wide-range of precision munitions. It offers increased interoperability and cost-sharing across three of the U.S. services and coalition partner nations. Eglin is home to the largest fleet of F-35s at any DOD base with 22 jets.

. 100th combined sortie – July 12 – accomplished in 123 days
. 200th combined sortie – Aug. 24 – accomplished in 44 days
. 300th combined sortie – Sept.21 – accomplished in 30 days
. 400th combined sortie – Oct. 16 – accomplished in 25 days
. 500th combined sortie – Nov. 2 – accomplished in 16 days




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


 
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 
 
LM-C130

U.S. Air Force receives additional MC-130J Commando II

MARIETTA, Ga., Aug. 27, 2015 – A crew from the U.S. Air Force Aug. 27 ferried a new MC-130J Commando II aircraft assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command to Cannon Air Force Base, N.., from the Lockheed Martin facilit...
 

 
af-uav4

Arming the RPAs

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Joseph Swafford A1C Matthew Lopez (center), 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron munitions systems technician, builds a GPS-guided GBU-49 bomb at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2015...
 
 
dragon-lady1

Local efforts help keep Dragon Lady flying at 60

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings A U-2 Dragon Lady soars above the flightline at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Jan. 22, 2014. The low-altitude handling characteristics of the aircraft and bicycle-type lan...
 
 
Air Force photograph

U.S. Navy awards production contract for additional P-8A aircraft, first RAAF planes

Air Force photograph A P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft parked on the tarmac during a BALTOPS 2015 mission on the flightline of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, June 9, 2015. The U.S. Navy awarded a nearl...
 




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>