December 12, 2012 (by SrA DeAndre Curtiss) - Holloman Air Force Base, is known for its unique airspace which has offered many advantages to testing new capabilities and training for future missions. That same uniqueness is one of the reasons that 18 F-16s from the 309th Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, deployed on the 12th for training.
Six F-16s from the 309th FS (with #88-0517 leading), stage at the end of the runway at Holloman AFB on December 7th, 2012. [USAF photo by SrA. DeAndre Curtiss]
The 18 F-16s, along with 190 personnel, will be deployed here for training from Dec. 7 to14.
"The F-16 makes up the largest fighter fleet in the Air Force, and our training will help sustain fighter pilot production for the foreseeable future," said Col. Rodney Petithomme, 56th FW Operation Location-Alpha commander.
While at Holloman AFB
, the F-16s will fly 24 sorties per day. The deployed aircraft and the personnel attached will be using Holloman AFB airspace resources and facilities to test Holloman's ability to meet the needs of a formal training unit which is scheduled to move to Holloman AFB.
"The F-16 formal training unit transfer to Holloman is a very complicated but also critical project," said Major Brian Macfarlane 56th FW Operation Location-Alpha. "This deployment will test airspace, training ranges, Holloman infrastructure, and the ability to support robust F-16 operations."
Along with testing base infrastructure, the pilots will be testing the White Sands Missile Range, N.M., airspace and Holloman AFB operations and completing instructor pilot upgrade and transition course sorties. While here they will also be testing employing precision and non-precision inert and live heavyweight munitions on the training ranges. They will validate the new Oscura Bombing Range scored strafe targets and range operatin procedures.
"Having the Luke F-16s here for a week gives us a great opportunity to train on the White Sands Missile Range well ahead of the actual aircraft movement," said Petithomme. "The F-16s will eventually be based here, training both pilots and maintainers. This training gives us the opportunity to find problems now, and gives us time to fix them before they arrive permanently."