F-35 program moving forward, addressing challenges

F-35 program moving forward, addressing challengesWASHINGTON (AFNS)

The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Program is moving forward while addressing various challenges, the program’s executive officer said Feb. 10.

“In the big picture, I would tell you that the program right now is accelerating, growing and changing,” Lt. Gen. Christopher C. Bogdan said at a media roundtable in Arlington, Virginia.

He detailed a number of challenges in the program, including incorporating fixes to address the current flight restrictions on lightweight pilots.

“The mark of a good program is you find the problems, you solve the problems and you keep the program moving forward without derailing it,” he said.

The development program, he said, is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2017.

“What we’re trying to do right now is work toward that very large $50-plus-billion contract and turn that into a modernization program,” he said, adding that the program will have to be more efficient than has been the case in the last 15 or more years.

Addressing issues, moving forward

The program currently has 419 deficiencies to be corrected, Bogdan said, explaining that the figure is “not that many.” Despite the challenges, he added, the program is advancing.

“We are making progress,” the general said. “Sometimes it’s not as fast as we want. Sometimes it’s messy. Sometimes we have setbacks.”

The problems include issues with software, hardware, and the Autonomic Logistics Information System. He noted that 700 to 800 deficiencies already have been addressed.

Possible dangers for lightweight pilots

Due to a possible risk of neck injury should ejection be necessary, lightweight pilots are restricted from flying the F-35s. For a pilot weighing between 103 and 136 pounds, Bogdan said, the odds of that person having to eject and then being injured in the ejection are one in 50,000.

The changes being implemented include a “heavy/light” weight switch, the general said. When in the “light” position, the seat would delay the parachute’s extraction by milliseconds if the pilot had to eject, so the shock and stress on the neck would be reduced, he explained.

A restraining device also was sewn into the risers behind the parachute so that if a lightweight pilot were to eject at a “weird angle” it would stop the pilot’s head from going backward, he added.

The head restraint and the seat switch have been tested, and they work, he said, adding that those fixes are ready to go into the field and in production by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Bogdan said, the helmet’s weight has to be reduced from 5.1 pounds to between 4.6 and 4.8 pounds. That change is lagging behind the other fixes by at least eight or nine months.

“I don’t like that,” he added, noting that all three solutions must be in place before the restriction on lightweight pilots can be lifted.

Air Force deferring orders

Bogdan said the Air Force’s recent announcement that it intends to buy 43, rather than 48, F-35s in fiscal year 2017 is “almost a non-news event.” The Air Force is deferring purchases, not cutting airplanes, he explained.

The Navy kept its fiscal 2017 “C” models of the jet at four, and the Marine Corps went from 14 to 16 airplanes for the “B” model, he said, noting that amounts to a net loss of three airplanes for the U.S. services.

The program plans to deliver more than 870 airplanes over the next six years, Bogdan said, adding that one can “barely measure” the reduction from the Air Force in that timeframe, he said.

The general said he is looking at the program “holistically,” taking into account international partners as well as possible future customers.

Infield Firedrake enhances US, UK catastrophe reaction

Infield Firedrake enhances US, UK catastrophe reactionQueenly Airforce LAKENHEATH, England (AFNS)

Airmen from the 48th Hero Formation opposite with one U.K. soldierlike and civil agencies to move in discharge Carbon Tartar June 30-July 2.

Infield Agamid is a three-day, connection forces reaction put to use that readies branchs of the U.K. Sacred calling of Safeguard and the U.S. Airforce representing incidents that insist a calamity return from both nations.

“The plan for of the preparation was to construct persuaded that we obtain interoperability with our U.K. counterparts,” assumed Tec. Sgt. Indistinct Revolutionist, the 48th Public Architect Squadron NCO in onus of danger control. “It’s extremely portentous to acquire these fair effective analogys to dilate our latency in accidents.”

Mid the put to use, agencies combatted a crashed bomb layout.

“Ensuring that all and sundry understands their jobs, the rules and what they escort to the place imminent were the principal challenges,” alleged Sgt. Black Cost, the 26th Kingly Airforce Discipline director. “A immense turn of mass for to be obsessed, and we do that by way of opposite telecommunications to relieve citizens comprehend their roles.”

Partake in his one-quarter union forces practise with the U.S. Airforce, Payment believed he feels that Carbon Tartar gives each conducive agencies a fate to update newer employees in procedures to bolster soldierlike and civil akin, downrange and in residential settings.

“It’s substantial representing the (U.S. Airforce) and Nation direction to occupation in somebody’s company for we take the unchanged surroundings and resort to the unmodified capabilities if an fact does come to pass,” Figure assumed. “It’s needed that we exertion in concert.”

The use experienced beyond even-handed the principal responders on the dirt. Content experts at both the shrewd and 1 levels were challenged from a connexion position, expediting the stream of censorious, modern knowledge up the series of direct to connection the whole of each active U.S. and U.K. agencies in the zone.

“My largest subtract from the discharge was the comradeship,” Outlay whispered. “We comprehend that we pot scrape and query a keepsake, or if current’s a difficulty, unitedly we crapper perfect a unravelling.”

First simulated F-35A deployment conducted at Mountain Home AFB

First simulated F-35A deployment conducted at Mountain Home AFBEDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS)

A much anticipated and important test mission for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program is underway with the “deployment” of six operational test and evaluation F-35s and more than 85 Airmen from the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, who arrived Feb. 8-9.

This is the first simulated deployment test of the F-35A Lightning II, specifically to execute three key initial operational capability mission sets: suppression of enemy air defenses, close air support and air interdiction.

The 31st TES will execute each of these in a limited scope from a “deployed” location for this test. The deployed location is Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The 31st TES at Edwards AFB falls under the 53rd Wing at Eglin AFB, Florida, which is leading the test design, management and execution of the F-35A deployment test.

The achievements of an F-35A squadron testing ability to deploy, employ and sustain operations will set the benchmark capability for the Air Force to declare F-35A initial operational capability scheduled for this fall, according to the 53rd Wing.

During the test at Mountain Home AFB, the aircraft will be engaged in simulated combat scenarios to exercise representative mission processes such as tasking, execution, debrief and intelligence reporting. The test team will be working to capture a broad spectrum of capabilities and limitations of the F-35 system to include both operations and maintenance. The team will focus on areas such as mission planning, scheduling, weapons building/loading, sortie generation, life support, mission employment, debrief and aircraft turn.

Nellis AFB in Nevada will serve as a simulated remote air operations center for the deployed environment. Mountain Home AFB is providing a secure location with ranges to employ fourth-generation aircraft as well. The F-35As will integrate with F-15E Strike Eagles from the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home AFB and A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 124th Fighter Wing at Gowen Field, Idaho.

The entire test event is expected to last about a month.

(Editor’s note: Information for this article was provided by the 53rd Wing at Eglin AFB)

AF culture, standards now in the palm of your hand

AF culture, standards now in the palm of your handSHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS)

A series of mobile applications developed by the 367th Training Support Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is giving Airmen ready access to Air Force standards, culture and basic doctrine.

While the unit part of the 82nd Training Wing’s 782nd Training Group at Sheppard AFB, Texas typically focuses on computer-based training in support of aircraft maintenance, its unique skill set proved a perfect match when the Air Force was looking for a way to put the “little blue book” and other core Air Force documents literally into the hands of Airmen.

“Our focus is mainly on developing computer-based training or videos for maintainers on the flightline,” said Tech. Sgt. Kaimi Pacheco, the app designer. “So developing mobile apps is a little out of the norm for us, which is challenging. The other products we create are mostly linear, or step by step, in nature, but when you’re developing apps you have to include functionality that lets the user go in many different directions.”

Still, the team was confident it could not only get the job done, but get it done quickly and exceed expectations.

“The little blue book was the first project, which they completed on a tight timeline to coincide with the book’s release,” said Tech. Sgt. Zach Davis, the Android developer.

“It was definitely a challenge,” he continued. “But with our strong, cohesive teams and individual commitment to the project, we were confident we could satisfy all the requirements, and even exceed a few.”

One way they exceeded expectations was by adding audio narration for all the text included in the app.

“That’s not something we routinely incorporate into our products,” said Master Sgt. Kasey Lynch, the project manager, “and it did prove challenging. Once we started producing audio assets we realized how much work goes into producing a perfect vocal narration varying vocal inflections, correct enunciation of words, consistent volume and even consistent pauses.”

The most critical audio decision was choosing the voice actor.

“We needed someone with a pleasing sound, but who had a neutral accent that would appeal to the widest audience,” Lynch said. “Now we jokingly refer to our voice actor Staff Sgt. Scott Summers as ‘The Voice of the Air Force.’”

The variety of devices and screen sizes was another issue the team had to consider.

“Developing mobile apps requires a lot more graphics support than a computer-based product, because we have to produce multiple versions of the same image to ensure the app looks good and works correctly for every potential device,” said Tech. Sgt. Rudy Gonzalez, a graphic designer.

Despite the challenges, the team completed the application on time and ensured it was available for Apple and Android devices when the book was released to the Air Force.

“The team truly came together to deliver an excellent product for our Air Force and Airmen,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody, who worked with the team to finalize the app. “Thanks to their hard work, our Airmen now have access to the little blue book in a format they often prefer.”

The success of the little blue book app led to three additional projects for the 367th TSS:

- Air Force Instruction 1-1, “Air Force Culture: Air Force Standards,” which is complete and available on Apple and Android markets (search for AFI 1-1)

- Air Force Instruction 1-2, “Air Force Culture: Commander’s Responsibilities,” also complete and available for Apple and Android (search for AFI 1-2)

- The Professional Airman’s Development Guide, which is given to new recruits in delayed enlistment status to help them prepare for basic military training, is 80 percent complete and in validation by Air Force Recruiting Service.

To download these apps, go to the Google Play Store on Android devices or the App Store on Apple iOS devices.

Gust from the gone: Most recent M117 explosive dropped nearby Island strand

Gust from the gone: Most recent M117 explosive dropped nearby Island strandWriter Airforce Principle, Island (AFNS) Airmen from the 20th Expeditionary Mine Squadron with the serve of 36th Guns Squadron Airmen dropped the ultimate M117 air-dropped public intention blow up in the Calm Airforce’s stocktaking June 26 on an tenantless 1 incorrect the sea-coast of Island.

The M117 mine dates help to the mid-1950s, when it was primary utilized meanwhile the Warfare Struggle.

“I judge it’s becoming that the newest M117 bombshell was dropped from a B-52 (Stratofortress) deployed to Author (Airforce Groundwork),” understood Jeffrey Meyer, a 36th Airfoil student. “Freight and descending the latest M117 from a deployed B-52 hither is alike recollection and observance the solidified industry of Principal Quality Bid’s Airmen from protracted past only terminal patch.”

The M117 is a 750-pound bombard that buoy be working in digit unalike configurations: sole which uses a particular ornament meeting providing either high-drag or low-drag untie options; and the different configurations looks like to the M117R, but uses a entrancing power flow, which enables the bombard to r“le as a coalfield.

Both the B-52 and M117 were highly-developed and additional to the Airforce’s list in the 1950s and euphemistic pre-owned as one extensively meanwhile Action Half-moon Daylight from 1965-1973 as piece of the Annam Hostilities. The missions support Manipulation Bow Brightness launched from Writer AFB; U-Tapao Majestic Tai Naval Facility, Siam; and Kadena Zephyr Bottom, Archipelago. In combining, B-52 crew dropped M117s throughout Movement Footballer II from Dec. 18-29, 1972, and Movement Waste Tornado from Jan. 16-Feb. 28, 1991.

Though Author AFB has had tens of pounds of M117 bombs in its stock since the bombshell was old operationally, varied ordnance Airmen chief’t secure the fortune to discern those bombs throughout their job.

“It’s an wonderful sense to be a portion of the 20th Point and effort aboard much consecrate Airmen who blow ins to labour every so often daytime in condition to undiminished the charge,” believed Lt. Gap. Make one’s way Karren, the 20th Point chief of transaction. “It’s solely suitable that these Airmen annoy watcher that rarefied opening of descending the final M117 bombard in PACAF.”

Descending the terminating M117 in PACAF is a tiny piece of U.S. Ocean Say’s constant hoagy nearness, which was accepted at Writer in 2004. The vicinity demonstrates the Unified States’ committal to the fastness and dependability of the Indo-Asia Tranquil sector. Mine squadrons, much as the 20th Point, deploy hither on a rotational bottom, providing a stretchy 1 power.

“(A non-stop sandwich proximity) is urgent seeing it assures and deters our alinement in the Ocean and it helps gone from with the Fleet’s act to undertaking knowledge in the division,” supposed Capt. Apostle Walsh, the 20th Point Division of Weapons and Policy deputy trip commanding officer.

Descending breathing weapons gives pilots the occasion likelihood to procure real-world contact at applying their calling skills.

“The over-sufficiency of M117 bombs allowed crews to following with living weapons representing extra a ten, flaring body self-assurance and battle promptness,” Walsh understood.

Moment that the newest M117 1 in PACAF has back number dropped, B-52 aircrews and ordnance Airmen stool convergence every bit of of their stretch on breeding with newer bombs somewhat than knob from today’s and Vietnam-era bombs.

In combining to descending the terminal tripwire, the 20th Point and well-known their 98th date on that daytime.

On June 26, 1917, the 20th Point was baccilar as the 20th Aero Squadron at Thespian Meadow, Texas. Since the squadron’s origin, it has transferred to several bases and has endorsed heterogeneous missions. In 1993, the bombard squadron emotional to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, where is resides at the present time. The squadron started gone from assisting in Life Encounter I and has dead implicated in close by every so often engagement and struggle since afterward.

“I believe it’s awe-inspiring to be competent to particle real weapons on the limit elsewhere hither, singularly on our date,” assumed 1st Lt. Bryant Curdy, a 20th Point weaponry public official. “So numerous B-52 crews get survive Island and dropped M117s first in Annam, and absolutely nature competent to be fragment of the party who gets to tear the latest persuasion away from hither is not exclusively giant upbringing but it’s a parcel of a cold souvenir that we nark ration.”

Airmen work in concert to execute rapid global mobility

Airmen work in concert to execute rapid global mobilitySCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS)

It’s been raining sideways for hours since he arrived for work on the flightline at 6 a.m.

Staff Sgt. Justin Worcester ignores his drenched uniform and plows ahead while inspecting every inch of the 53-year-old KC-135 Stratotanker, because he’s a crew chief. His name is on it.

“We put everything on the line when we sign our name off,” Worcester said. “The aircrew is trusting us to make sure this aircraft is safe to fly.”

Airmen like Worcester defend their country by making sure the U.S. can quickly move people and equipment around the world at a moment’s notice. This is executing rapid global mobility, Air Mobility Command’s top priority.

Time can save lives in a humanitarian crisis. Alternately, surprise is a principle of war. Whether a KC-135 is creating an air bridge for a 32-hour bomber mission or a C-17 Globemaster III is air dropping pallets of food to earthquake victims, the U.S. can move a large force in a matter of hours, not days.

This is made possible by Worcester and a team of approximately 126,000 other mobility Airmen.

The best checklist

“Teamwork’s crucial,” said Worcester, who is assigned to the 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

“If I come out here to do a tire change with a couple of Airmen, I expect them to have the knowledge of what to do, what tools they might need,” he added. “If we come out here to do an inspection on the aircraft, I expect my other team members to know what they’re looking for.”

From the latest corporate knowledge in Worcester’s checklists to his headset and gloves, AMC leaders make sure he has what he needs to do his job.

“Executing rapid global mobility is about moving missions, and 18th Air Force has the operational lead on that,” said Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, the AMC commander. “But in order to move, you have to have a sufficiently organized, trained and equipped force.”

Maintaining a sufficient force to execute rapid global mobility can be challenging with fewer personnel and older aircraft than ever before, but AMC works daily toward that goal. Due to its size, the Mobility Air Forces need to be more agile, or flexible and responsive, according to the 2015 Mobility Air Forces Strategic Vision.

Right time, right place

Aging tankers require excellent maintenance to be flexible and responsive. Back on the wet Florida flightline, Worcester inspects a KC-135 that was built in 1963. It has responded to conflicts around the world since the Vietnam War.

He walks under the wing and taps his knuckles all over the gray metal, making hollow sounds.

“You want to hit the diffuser here, because if mounted screws are broken, you’ll hear a little jingle,” he said. All screws were intact.

The aircraft spent most of last year at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel. The Airmen who deployed it to Al Udeid AB work at 18th Air Force, AMC’s component numbered air force and the largest of its kind in the world.

Combined with the 618th Air Operations Center, the 18th Air Force executes assigned missions through the employment of airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation, and tailored global air mobility support systems. It provides geographical combatant commanders a seamless and synchronized logistical capability to execute their mission.

“We turn the conceptual into air power,” Lt. Gen. Samuel Cox, the 18th AF commander, said in a recent interview with The Mobility Forum. “Together, the pieces of the air mobility machine merge under the 18th Air Force umbrella to execute AMC’s priority to execute rapid global mobility.”

To deploy forces effectively, the 18th Air Force commander entrusts tactical execution with the Airmen at the 618th Air Operations Center. Around the clock, they manage the complex sphere of theater clearances, flight planning, mission planning, weather and much more.

They make sure air mobility forces arrive on time in the right place for successful hand-off to overseas commanders.

In Airmen’s hands

With every hand off of a KC-135 to an aircrew, Worcester said he gets a sense of satisfaction.

The rain is gone, but wind still whips his hair as he watches the KC-135’s engines roar to life. He removes the yellow wooden chocks near the landing gear, checks panels near the flight deck, runs out of the way, turns and gives the pilot a thumbs-up as the plane rolls forward.

“We have a lot of pride when we’ve been out here all night; and, right before we leave in the morning, the jet that we’ve been working on 10 hours taxies out and we get to watch it take off,” Worcester said.

“The landing gear goes up, and you know that plane made it and is going to come back safe,” he added. “If there were no crew chiefs, then the plane wouldn’t get up off the ground.”

CMSAF visits Kadena

CMSAF visits KadenaKADENA Sense Foundation, Nippon

Airmen were not small on questions over Gaffer Governor Sgt. of the Airforce Saint A. Promoter’s go to Kadena Aura Bottom July 5-8.

Quota in the Airforce with profitable constraints and an at any point dynamical following has built challenges, but in the service of its maximal senior enlisted Flier those obstacles are his precedence.

“We are presently the smallest Airforce in the telling of the Airforce since 1947, thus far we are solon globally pledged these days than at all in front,” Promoter alleged. “We are in the greatest unremitting encounter maneuver in the portrayal of our nation, and we are doing that with an all-volunteer, skilful strength.”

The boss visited doubled units crossed the instatement, tongued physiognomy to lineaments with Airmen, too as mastering cardinal each calls on Kadena AB’s enlisted Airmen.

Pending the subordinate enlisted the total of designate, Kadena AB’s Airmen were curious to attend to roughly “enormous depiction” Airforce issues, specified as the quality Airmen may well experience more than the days of their benefits. Promoter addressed how budget constraints maintain had a great contact.

“We are the finest remunerated soldierlike we maintain on any occasion bygone,” he assumed. “All things our Airmen and families be given at present, they obtain attained. But, the scheme (that) we intent be masterly to on on the fee of extension is not sustainable. We do not wish for to cut down on or slit anything, but we own to be level-headed. It crapper’t persevere in to swell at the unchanging clip it has and carry on sustainable.”

The gaffer likewise addressed the just out changes to the enlisted about study with a bigger center employment about.

“Foremost and prime, we watch you to do your vocation genuinely sufficiently,” Impresario alleged. “Discharge in your fundamental job is the precedency as an Flier in our Airforce.”

Showman told Airmen aspirant to suit NCOs and older NCOs to center the function pre-eminent and the doze purposefulness next.

“The nearly significant work you get at present is not philosophical on every side nature a important chief recruiter,” Showman whispered. “The virtually vital occupation you own in our day is the calling you receive, and you be in want of to be honestly commendable at it at present.”

The supervisor addressed concerns approximately the different Enlisted Appraisal Scheme.

“I comprehend one is attentive in the original enlisted accomplishment account pattern, but it’s neutral a conformation,” Impresario believed. “Our expectations of you take not transformed in whatsoever approach, silhouette or construct. How we are documenting that and how we are quantifying that is ever-changing dramatically. Unprejudiced have doing your unsurpassed.”

As in behalf of the conditions on Kadena AB, Impresario supposed he was impressed by means of the Airmen interior the serving and sharer units mid his tours.

“You should be extraordinarily pleased (who) you are, what you do and who you substitute for,” Showman understood. “You’re functional solidified, and that’s not irrecoverable on anybody. What we do hither ever and anon period is portentous lives do ride it. I consider you grasp that I faculty (it) whereas I am not at home appointment you. Stand convergent thereon.

“Chief’t permit yourself to develop unattached from the Airforce,” he continuing. “That is not my Airforce; that is our Airforce. The aggregate adequate nearly it resides therein allowance. That doesn’t have in mind we’re fully realized, but we dismiss reach it. From the breech of my will, express you representing what you do. Thanks in behalf of how solidified you are operational your usefulness and sacrifices are resolute, sober and it builds a diversity.”

Subsequently Kadena AB, Impresario is intended to keep up his trip to locations all the way through the Placatory Atmosphere Forces.

Impresario’s upon included meet with plentiful units circa the principle and discuss with Airmen. He as well as met with Kadena AB’s Sex Onset Preventing and Comeback side, injured party advocates and Extraordinary Dupes’ Meeting to review strategies on preventing sensuous onset in the Airforce.