Defense

January 24, 2014

First Luke F-35 pilot training at Eglin

Capt. Joshua Arki, 61st Fighter Squadron instructor pilot and chief of weapons and tactics, is welcomed back Dec. 31, 2013, after his final flight in an F-16 Fighting Falcon on the Luke Air Force Base flightline. Arki was selected as the first Luke F-16 pilot to transition to the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter and is currently attending training on the new airframe at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. He is expected to return to his Luke squadron in March.

Flying is a concept that captures the imagination of some people at a very young age; hence the success of characters like Peter Pan, Superman and even a flying house in the 2009 movie “Up.”

Few get to realize that dream, but Capt. Joshua Arki, a 61st Fighter Squadron instructor pilot and chief of weapons and tactics, realized his dream by first mastering flight in an F-16 Fighting Falcon and has now been selected as the first Luke Air Force Base F-16 pilot to transition to the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter, scheduled to arrive at Luke early this year.

“The decision was made that the first pilot to transition had to be the new squadron’s chief of weapons and tactics,” said Lt. Col. Shamsher Mann, 62nd Fighter Squadron commander. “We needed it to be an Air Force Weapons School graduate. The list was further narrowed based on rank and time on station. We also needed someone who demonstrated superior instructional skills and the competence to take on the daunting task of defining new tactics for a new fighter while building the initial crop of F-35 pilots for the Air Force.”

While there were other contenders, Arki met all criteria and was chosen for the big job, Mann said.

It is bittersweet to give up flying the F-16, Arki said, describing the Fighting Falcon as the greatest multirole fighter ever. But he has hopes of helping the F-35 to meet and maybe surpass that legacy one day.

“There are only a small number of pilots qualified on the F-35, so we are literally creating and testing tactics on a daily basis,” he said.

Arki is currently TDY to Eglin AFB, Fla., where he is learning the ins and outs of the F-35. As an instructor pilot with the 62nd FS for the past four years, it was an adjustment for him to get in the mindset of being a student again.

“I’m learning a lot from the Eglin instructors, and hope to bring back to Luke many of their lessons-learned,” Arki said. “I’m currently in the academic and simulator phase of training, and will begin flying the F-35 in early February.”

The former F-16 pilot is scheduled to return from training in March as he pioneers the future of flying the F-35 here at Luke.

“The battlefield dominance that the F-35 will bring to the table is eye-watering,” Arki said. “The aircraft is amazing.”

Arki was selected for this important role because of his ability to lead the way, Mann said.

“Luke pilots, along with their Eglin counterparts, will be on the leading edge of defining the tactical parameters of how the Air Force will fight with the F-35,” the 62nd FS commander said. “Captain Arki has a lot riding on his shoulders. On those shoulders rests the initial trajectory of the combat training effectiveness of the F-35 when it arrives at Luke. Arki brings the right mix of formal training unit instructional experience and tactical forward thinking.”




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


 
 

 

Headlines August 1, 2014

News: Military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds - An independent panel appointed by the Pentagon and Congress said July 31 that President Obama’s strategy for sizing the armed services is too weak for today’s global threats. Defense industry funds flow to contenders for key House chairmanships - Four of the top...
 
 

News Briefs August 1, 2014

China allows foreign reporters at news conference Foreign reporters are being allowed to attend China’s Defense Ministry briefings for the first time, marking a small milestone in the increasingly confident Chinese military’s efforts to project a more transparent image. Restrictions still apply and there is no sign of an improvement in the generally paltry amount...
 
 
Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton

Rapid Equipping Force, PEO Soldier test targeting device at White Sands Missile Range

Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton SFC Justin Rotti, a combat developer from the Training and Doctrine Command Fire Cell, Fires Center of Excellence, uses a developmental hand held precision targeting device during a test ...
 

 

NASA awards modification for geophysics, geodynamics, space geodesy support contract

NASA has awarded a modification to Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies Inc. of Greenbelt, Md. to continuing working the the Geophysics, Geodynamics and Space Geodesy Support Services contract. The maximum ordering value of the GGSG contract will increase to $76.8 million. The previous amount was $49.5 million. The increase in the maximum ordering value of the contract...
 
 
boeing-japan

Boeing, All Nippon Airways finalize order for 40 wide-body airplanes

  Boeing and All Nippon Airways July 31 finalized an order for 40 widebody airplanes – 20 777-9Xs, 14 787-9 Dreamliners and six 777-300ERs (Extended Range) – as part of the airline’s strategic long-haul fleet ren...
 
 

Excalibur Ib enters full rate production, receives $52 million award

TUCSON, Ariz., July 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Raytheon’s Excalibur Ib precision guided projectile has entered full rate production. U.S. Army approval of FRP completes Excalibur Ib’s low rate initial production phase. †Additionally, the U.S. Army has awarded Raytheon $52 million for continued Excalibur Ib production. “The full rate production decision is the culmination ...
 




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>