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F-22 training on the bayou

Posted 8/16/2013   Updated 8/16/2013 Email story   Print story


by Maj. John Deloney
43rd Fighter Squadron

8/16/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- With a higher demand for expertly trained 5th generation F-22 Raptor pilots and less budget and resources, members of the 43rd Fighter Squadron and 43rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit formed a training mission to mirror possible real world situations without sacrificing quality to the students or combat commanders.

"I am proud of our Tyndall Airmen for the plan they have developed to accomplish our mission," said Lt. Col. Travis Koch, 43rd FS commander. "Even in tough fiscal times, we are able to pool our resources, maximize our training opportunities and get the job done."

Team Tyndall personnel will travel to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans with the purpose of maximizing flying and air combat training for six F-22 students in late August. The training mission will accomplish 40 syllabus items in eight days, which place students ahead of their proposed timeline and send new F-22 pilots to their operational units on time.
The 325th Fighter Wing trains and projects unrivaled combat power by providing F-22 pilots for the combat air force. The Air Force requires 38 F-22 Basic-Course graduates in 2013 and 2014.

This requirement presented a resource challenge to the 43rd FS and the 43rd AMU.
Normally, during the students' final air combat tactics phase of training, the required adversary support are brought to Tyndall. This support maximizes near real-world training versus fourth-generation aircraft and graduates students in a timely manner. However, with budget constraints, finding a flying adversaries able to deploy to Tyndall has become more and more difficult.

Team Tyndall will now travel to those training support assets.

"In our austere financial environment, resources to accomplish our mission have dwindled. In order to achieve success, we created a great plan to give our students the best training while being good stewards of our assets. This model ensures the Air Force will receive the best trained pilots on time," said Maj. John Hensz, 43rd FS assistant director of operations.
To graduate students on time, the squadron needs 240 Raptor direct support adversary training flights, which is 160 flights short of Tyndall's self-support capability. Pilots and maintainers developed this mission to make up the difference.

The plan takes eight F-22s and 124 personnel to JRB New Orleans to accomplish the mission.

The trip offers the ability to train with the New Orleans Air National Guard F-15C Eagles and U.S. Navy F-18s Hornets creating a joint environment realistic to today's battlefield. Montgomery Air National Guard F-16s Fighting Falcons and Eglin Air Force Base's F-15C, F-16 and F-35 Lightning aircraft will fly in both advisory and ally roles. In addition, a dedicated air refueling tanker will further maximize flying training.

"The ability for us to accomplish our objective of graduating capable F-22 on-time pilots is a direct reflection of the teamwork and commitment by everyone in the 325th Fighter Wing," said Maj. Bill Creeden, the 43rd FS operations officer.

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