HomeNewsArticle Display

F-35 begins integrated training with F-16 at Luke

An F-35 Lightning II flies alongside an F-16 Fighting Falcon June 25, 2015, at Luke Air Force Base. In October, F-35 and F-16 pilots began integrated training designed to improve mission cooperation and flight skills in both airframes. (Courtesy Photo)

An F-35A Lightning II flies alongside an F-16 Fighting Falcon June 25, 2015, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. In October, F-35 and F-16 pilots began integrated training designed to improve mission cooperation and flight skills in both airframes. (Courtesy Photo)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) -- In October, pilots of the 56th Fighter Wing began flying integrated direct support practice sorties in the F-35A Lightning II and the F-16 Fighting Falcon for the first time as a regular component of the training curriculum at Luke Air Force Base.

The integrated training comes as part of the next step in the development of F-35 training and tactics, and helps pilots become efficient in conducting futuristic mission sets and aerial combat scenarios involving both fourth and fifth-generation fighter jets.

“The F-35 has reached a point where we can do both our continuation and upgrade training to a level where integration will benefit both fourth- and fifth-generation pilots,” said Col. David Shoemaker, the 56th Fighter Wing vice commander. “We are now flying dedicated sorties every day to train in F-16 and F-35 integrated direct support.”

The integrated training accomplishes two major training goals, first in exposing F-35 pilots to air-to-air combat scenarios against fourth-generation aircraft capable of mimicking adversaries that pilots would realistically face on today’s battlefields, and second in providing F-35 and F-16 pilots with experience in carrying out joint strike missions.

“The difference in the way of thinking between flying a fourth-generation and a fifth-generation fighter is tremendous,” Shoemaker said. “The ability to get out there and see the capabilities of the fifth-generation F-35 versus a fourth-generation airframe, and then to teach fourth-generation pilots how to integrate the tactical and technological advances of the fifth generation, is a great opportunity for us.”

While the F-35 will eventually phase out the four-decade-old F-16, both jets will operate together for some time, requiring pilots to be proficient in the development and usage of integrated tactics designed to maximize the utility of both aircraft.

“It’s important not only for our F-35 pilots to see integration, but also for our F-16 instructor pilots, who after their time here at Luke will eventually go back into combat Air Force assignments where having that knowledge of how to work with fifth-generation aircraft is going to be vital to their warfighting capability,” Shoemaker said.

Through integration, Luke’s F-16 pilots are learning how to accomplish missions by complementing their toolset with the numerous, new capabilities of the F-35, including stealth and advanced sensors.

“The F-35 maintains many new and advanced capabilities in its platform that inherently exist without the need to be attached as an add-on or external accessory like in the F-16, F-15 (Eagle), or any fourth-generation fighter,” said Maj. David Bennett, the 309th Fighter Squadron director of operations and an F-16 pilot. “The F-35 is really a force multiplier for any ally in its airspace. The more exposure our F-16 pilots have flying with the F-35, the better they will be in the future.”

Luke’s mission as the largest F-35 and F-16 training base keeps it at the forefront of the effort to build the future of airpower, both in the United States and around the world. As training development continues, Luke is scheduled to eventually host 144 F-35s between six F-35 fighter squadrons.

“For as long as the F-16 is here, we will continue to work, train with, and support the F-35 mission, which will ultimately benefit us all,” Bennett said.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
DYK: Aircraft have lifespans! Like humans, they require check-ups in the form of maintenance inspections to prolong their ability to fly. These "checks" prevent in-flight system failures which ultimately protects aircrew and passengers. Learn more from the 86th Maintenance Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on what it takes to correct issues so aircraft can stay airborne.
WATCH: United States Air Force pilots talk about the importance of Exercise Saber Strike 18 as they refuel over the Baltic Sea on June 18, 2018. Saber Strike 18 is a long-standing training exercise designed to enhance interoperability between the U.S. and our allies. The training focused on improving land and air operational capabilities between the U.S. and our NATO allies. (U.S. Air National Guard video by: Master Sgt. Wolfram M. Stumpf)
Check out some shots from yesterday's All-Star Armed Services Classic Championship softball game in Washington, D.C. This event, part of MLB’s All-Star Week, pays tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. Washington Nationals U.S. Army
Air Force and U.S. Army coed softball teams render military honors during the playing of the National Anthem during the All-Star Armed Services Classic Championship softball game, Washington, D.C., July 13, 2018. This event, part of MLB’s All-Star Week, pays tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. Washington Nationals
Great way to lead by example!
The United States Air Force is facing a pilot shortage. To help solve the challenge, the Aircrew Crisis Task Force was recently created to provide strategic direction and actionable recommendations to senior leaders on how to solve the aircrew manning crisis. FULL STORY: https://go.usa.gov/xUb3z
Your United States Air Force news: ✓ A B-52 crew assists in a search and rescue operation off the coast of Guam ✓ An Afghan pilot class graduates in the Czech Republic ✓ The Air Force is using innovative approaches to training pilots to make the process faster and more efficient
Now that’s how weathermen work! Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters fly weather reconnaissance missions into Tropical Storm Chris and Tropical Storm Beryl. http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1569944/hurricane-hunters-fly-tropical-storms-beryl-chris/
The F-22 Raptor's combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities. The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft. Maintaining these aircraft can involve a bit of a learning curve. Airmen at KadenaAirBase use past technology to help learn how to work with the undefeated Raptor. FULL STORY: http://www.kadena.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1567295/hard-to-raptor-head-around/
Help us out! Can you caption this photo?
The B-52 Stratofortress has sniper pods that provide improved long-range target detection/identification and continuous stabilize surveillance for all missions, including close air support of ground forces. Air Force Global Strike Command crew members on a B-52 were able to spot a historic Pacific Island style canoe so that the U.S. Coast Guard could rescue the six passengers!
For the past 60 years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has continually helped us maintain a technological edge against our advarsaries. Together with the Air Force Research Laboratory - AFRL, a fusion of ideas is leading to newly highlighted innovations.
SOUND ON! Celebrate freedom with the sound of freedom! Happy Independence Day!
For the first time in the 63-year history of Operation Deep Freeze, #Airmen from the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Sq… https://t.co/CdeyI4HjHT
#DYK, the #MedalofHonor is the highest award for bravery that can be awarded to members of the United States Armed… https://t.co/qei2LbbD1I
.@388fw’s 4th Fighter Squadron became the first operational unit to fire the F-35A’s the #aircraft’s 25mm cannon on… https://t.co/J7hbXrCSCv
#DYK: The @22ARW is the host unit of McConnell AFB! Its mission is to conduct air refueling & airlift operations su… https://t.co/12bR9cwIuG
RT @71FTW: An aircraft crash has occurred approximately 50 miles west of Vance AFB. Pilot is conscious and with emergency responders. Follo…
.@HQUSAFEPA #Airmen & seven African partner nations strengthened relationships through the African Partnership Flig… https://t.co/FsvAK4n3i3
.@20FighterWing #Airmen learned how to be resilient by taking a leap of faith. https://t.co/WCgebfzEmj https://t.co/5JHPF7P1Px
RT @USAFHealth: A new transition cell was recently stood-up to coordinate and support ongoing transition efforts related to the NDAA and tr…
.@Travis60AMW #Airmen helped the Advanced Extremely High Frequency-4 program complete a major milestone by ensuring… https://t.co/yut12HK3M5
The School of Air Evacuation honored the history, present and future of aeromedical evacuation during their 75th an… https://t.co/5uYoyUwy9z
.@PANationalGuard #Airmen have new and improved parachutes. Read more about the lifesaving equipment:… https://t.co/QC1BGX8Fbl
At the @20FighterWing, munitions #Airmen train and work as a team to load 'em up & move 'em out.… https://t.co/9leaqRS8vI
Imagine trying to use a stethoscope on a plane. The noise makes the tool essentially useless. A new #technology aim… https://t.co/AYMf42Q0Wf
Read about this #Airman's experiences as he serves with the @Aus_AirForce through the Military Personnel Exchange P… https://t.co/6Td7p8u3ZO
RT @HQUSAFEPA: We. Are. NATO. U.S. Air Force F-22s and Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35s conducted training ops over Norwegian airspace toget…
Tune into this edition of Around the #AirForce https://t.co/SFdrh7AIIY
#DYK: Our #militaryworkingdogs are seen at veterinary treatment facilities, ensuring the #K9s are healthy and able… https://t.co/MZE22dcoZ1
The #USAF partnered with @DeptVetAffairs to implement the first Women’s Health Transition Pilot Program! Check out… https://t.co/mdlKYrV5Wg
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree! This Washington #AirNationalGuard #Airman followed her mother's footsteps… https://t.co/PCto8QNH9L