May 31, 2017 (by 75th Air Base Wing) - The 3,000th F-35A Lighting II sortie departed Hill Air Force Base generated by maintainers from the active duty 388th Fighter Wing and Air Force Reserve’s 419th FW May 22, 2017.
A1C. Michael Wilkins, a crew chief assigned to the 34th AMU, walks toward a sun shade after launching an F-35 Lightning II aircraft (#13-5079) at Hill AFB on May 22nd, 2017. In addition to the sortie being the 3,000th in an operational F-35 at Hill AFB it also turned out to be Wilkens’s first solo launch. [USAF photo by Paul Holcomb]
That sortie, and all others flown that day were carried out with the new version of the Autonomic Logistics Information System. Commonly called ALIS
, it's the F-35A's information technology infrastructure.
The 3,000th sortie, with tail number 5079, was piloted by Lt. Col. Dave DeAngelis of the 419th FW.
Airman 1st Class Michael Wilkins, a crew chief assigned to the 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, launched 5079. It was his first solo launch after arriving here a month ago.
"I didn't even know I was doing it until today," he said. "It's a cool story for the first crew that you've done."
Col. Michael Miles, the 388th Maintenance Group commander, praised the Airmen responsible for the achievements made in the F-35 program.
"Our Airmen are some of the best the Air Force has to offer," he said. "The 388th and 419th Maintenance Group personnel are pushing the program forward by unlocking F-35 combat capability, gauging aircraft and equipment durability, and rapidly accomplishing F-35 weapons system training," he said.
Operationally implementing the upgraded version of ALIS—ALIS 18.104.22.168—is another milestone for the Airmen working in the F-35 program at Hill AFB
"The biggest improvement is the incorporation of the propulsion system within ALIS," said Senior Master Sgt. Jory Cyr, the 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit lead production superintendent. "This alleviates the need to have multiple products to manually track time change items and inspection times. This ALIS update combines air vehicle and propulsion system times in one location."
Cyr said aircraft maintainers here attended classes, which highlighted changes between the previous and current versions of ALIS, and a support team was available in each section to answer questions.
"Aircraft maintenance does not stop when we install these new updates so there were numerous man hours spent making sure all the documentation was correct within the new system prior to flying each aircraft," he said. "The 34th AMU was able to fly 100 percent of our local scheduled sorties after the upgrade showing the outstanding dedication and attention to detail by everyone within the 388th Fighter Wing."
The successful ALIS upgrade and F-35 milestones are proving that the Air Force's newest fifth-generation fighter and the Airmen who maintain it are key to America's defense.
"The culmination of the ALIS 22.214.171.124 and our 3,000th sortie is important because it highlights how fast the program at large is moving forward and how locally we are generating sorties at a very high rate—with only 22 aircraft assigned," Miles said. "For example, in March we flew each of our aircraft an average of 17 times. Our Airmen are out-producing the entire F-35 enterprise and the Hill AFB stand-up of F-35 operations is ahead of schedule."