LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — The 56th Fighter Wing flew its 1,000th F-35A Lightning II training sortie March 31, making it the fastest F-35 wing to reach the 1,000-sortie milestone in the Defense Department.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Air Force, with congressional authorization, will convert 18 primary combat-coded A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from active units and place them into Backup-Aircraft Inventory status with the possibility of converting another 18 at a later date in fiscal year 2015.
HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Like a kid at Christmas, officials from Hill Air Force Base are counting down the days until the F-35 arrives.
But unlike at Christmas, it will take those officials four years to unwrap all of their gifts.
As the Air Force’s handpicked home for the first operational F-35 wing, Hill is scheduled to receive 72 F-35s — to be divided among three fighter squadrons and flown and maintained by members of the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings.
HILL AIR FORCE BASE — If Congress approves the Air Force’s proposed 2016 budget, Hill Air Force Base will receive more than $38 million for additional construction work, mainly associated with the F-35, next year.
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — For the past four months, an F-35 Lightning II has endured extreme weather temperatures to certify the fleet to deploy to any corner of the world.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new government report says the flight testing restrictions that have been in place on the F-35 ever since the Air Force version of the jet caught fire in late June, will be lifted this month.
Announcement of the first operational F-35 assignment was released Dec. 2. The news that Hill AFB had been selected as the home for the Air Force’s first operational F-35A Lightning IIs was released after a lengthy analysis of multiple locations’ operational considerations, installation attributes and economic and environmental factors.
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The first Netherlands pilot took to the skies Dec. 18, in the F-35A Lightning II, making the Netherlands the second partner country to operate the fifth-generation multirole fighter.
Maj. Laurens J.W. Vijge, the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 Integrated Training Center training lead, completed his first flight after 210 hours of classroom training and 13 flights in the simulators.
Hill Air Force Base is adding flight simulators and ammunition bunkers after being chosen as an F-35 operational base.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it has awarded nearly $6 million in contracts. One $4 million contract will renovate and expand a building that houses flight simulators for pilot training. Four F-35 simulators will be added. The construction work was awarded to Ogden’s Creative Times Inc. Another $2 million contract will build earth-covered bunkers for aircraft munitions. That job was won by Zumwalt Construction Inc. of Fresno, Calif.
This year has been one of many accomplishments and challenges for Hill Air Force Base. The Air Logistics Complex inducted the first F-35 aircraft for depot level maintenance; the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings received confirmation they will fly the first operational F-35 aircraft in the United States Air Force; Sunset Ridge Development Partners will begin construction this month on the next Falcon Hill Enhanced Use-Lease commercial project and the 75th Air Base Wing supported the deployment of hundreds of Airmen to support combatant commanders around the world.