Tyndall’s F-35 Program Integration Office; supporting future missions

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Joe Harclerode
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 325th Fighter Wing is slated to receive F-35A Lightning II aircraft beginning in September 2023 in a move that supports the National Defense Strategy by furthering air superiority goals. As the “Installation of the Future” readies for its new mission set, Tyndall personnel and contractors are making tailored considerations to the flight line and facilities. Leading that effort is the 325 FW F-35 Program Integration Office.

The PIO’s mission is to identify current and future requirements in support of the F-35A bed-down at Tyndall.

Before breaking ground on F-35A facilities, the PIO coordinated with engineers from the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron to design a blueprint that optimized operational and combat readiness. Now, as construction continues, they work together to ensure the F-35A mission will have all required capabilities, while simultaneously planning for the joint strike fighter’s long-term buildup over the next several years.

“We looked at Tyndall and started to section it out, what needs to go where, what puzzle pieces need to fit where, it’s like a big chess game,” said Senior Master Sgt. Nathan Summers, 325th FW F-35 PIO senior enlisted leader.

The PIO generates interior and exterior requirements of the F-35A facilities which will allow for optimal productivity and efficiency once the jets arrive. Tyndall’s Program Management Office, the unit in charge of long-term development and reconstruction of the base, takes these requirements and designs 3D diagrams to visualize how the space will look once complete.

The PIO team is comprised of members from various backgrounds such as avionics, communications, maintenance, pilots, and aerospace ground equipment. Each member is hand-selected from their respective fields to use their past experience to account for all facets of the F-35A mission.

“Everybody has a role in a facility and what it’s going to look like when the F-35A gets here,” Summers explained. “The point when we built [PIO] up was (to try) to get individuals who know the F-35.”

Even with a wealth of knowledge in their office, PIO is working with other bases across the Air Force. This allows them to leverage the research and operations conducted within the service, saving time and money.

“There are multiple bases who have stood up F-35 squadrons, so we ask them questions,” said Tech. Sgt. Ward Swenson, 325th FW F-35 PIO communications lead. “We all have a slightly different mission, but overall, the main scope of the project is the same; how do we get the F-35s here and make it as seamless as possible. We are trying to posture ourselves so we can be ready [upon their arrival].”

The 325 FW continues to train and equip Airmen ready for worldwide deployment in support of combat operations. The implementation of the F-35A mission set will increase lethality by placing the Air Force’s latest fifth-generation fighter at Tyndall’s strategic location along the Gulf Coast, fortifying the U.S. capability to provide air superiority and global precision attack in high-end threat environments. It starts with the small team with a big mission at the PIO.