First F-35A deployment to ??? in 2017

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joost

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Unread post19 Apr 2017, 20:40

Last 2 arrived today, so the group of 8 is complete now at Lakenheath. I will hopefully view them tomorrow :-).
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Gums

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Unread post19 Apr 2017, 23:35

Salute!

Thanks, Joost! The inability of a reporter to count reminds me of a quip that I shall post at closing.

One of my most sad days was having to leave my favorite wingie behind at Hickham when his nose gear would not come up. Somehow a linkage was not connected after towing the jet to our launch area. It was the last flight of the last fighter bombers of the Vietnam War with only one hop remaining to Tucson! I had #6 chase him back to cover our arses, and then try to catch us. My wingie continued back to the states next day and not sure if he had a Phantom or other plane with him. They didn't like solo single seaters doing that back then, but the F-4 mentality wore off and the thousand+ Vipers had an effect 15 years later.

Gums sends...

P.S. As promised, but I can't find the reference, so from memory:

When the Chinese horde charged across the Yalu, Chesty Puller was in a command post and heard the RoK scout yelling on the radio that there were "many, many enemy charging". After another call or two and nothing but " many, many", he asked for the American liason Marine.

"Marine!! How many enemy do you see charging us?"

" I can't tell exactly, General, but it's a shitload!"

Puller turns to the radio man and others, " well, we finally found somebody that can count."

LOL to this day.
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Unread post19 Apr 2017, 23:44

I think I've mentioned the hopelessness of aviation reporters already - a few times - but that is me I guess. Anyways perhaps: "Two of the six Lockheed Martin F-35As deployed by the US Force Lakenheath AB last week were left behind in the UK as their squadron mates made the return trip...." Should read:

"Two of the eight total Lockheed Martin F-35As deployed by the US Force Lakenheath AB last week were left behind in the US as their squadron mates made the 'return' [poor use of 'return'] trip to the UK where SIX arrived...."

Thought it was odd that they had returned to the USofA already but hey I'm sitting in a basement upside down in OZ! :doh:

This penultimate sentence in the 'article' got lost in my struggle with 'RETURN' & the MATH: [note use of 'during & will']
"...During its Lakenheath deployment, the USAF will restrict its training operations to the UK airspace...."
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 00:08

Here we go - some proper info about what is going on 'over there'. Probably most online 'aviation' news websites NEED PROOFreaders or someone who can read the drivel that gets posted to THEN CORRECT IT! Now I'm through harrumphing.
England F-35A Deployment Just Practice, Not a Message
20 Apr 2017 John A Tirpak

"The movement of eight F-35As to Lakenheath, England—the first overseas deployment of the Air Force’s newest fighter—isn’t meant​ to send any kind of political message, and the aircraft won’t be available for operational missions during their weeks-long stay in the UK, USAF officers reported during a telephone press conference on April 19....

...This UK deployment now adds the experience of transiting the ocean and setting up with “a different power system” in a host country, he [Lt. Col. George Watkins, commander of the 34th Fighter Squadron aircraft from Hill AFB, Utah] said....

...Six F-35As initially made the trip; one additional F-35A aborted at Hill as a precautionary measure for a suspect fuel tank reading, but it and another jet followed the rest of the group Wednesday. Watkins said the unit brought 245 people on C-17 and C-5 cargo aircraft; a larger-than-usual number of the airmen were “security forces,” he said.

The size of the deployment was “very comparable” to what is done with F-16 movements, Watkins noted, but it was not modeled on the “Rapid Raptor” concept which quickly deploys a small number of aircraft with a single C-17 or KC-10 carrying support gear and people.

Each group of three F-35s was accompanied by three tankers along the way, and nine air refuelings were made on each aircraft. KC-135 tankers from RAF Mildenhall escorted the first group of jets from over Canada the rest of the way to Lakenheath. He said the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) came ahead of the group, was set up “in record time” and is functioning well in the new location. “We’re happy with how it’s working,” Watkins asserted.

He also said the F-35’s low observable surfaces will be maintained at combat levels during the deployment. The exact duration of the planned deployment was not disclosed."

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... sage-.aspx
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 00:46

...didn't see this in the thread....

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/the ... whats-next

The F-35A is in England. What’s next?

By: Valerie Insinna,
April 19, 2017

WASHINGTON — Within a couple hours, eight U.S. Air Force F-35As will have arrived at RAF Lakenheath, England, for a month of practicing dogfighting and combat maneuvers with the United Kingdom and potentially other NATO allies. Six F-35As from the active-duty 34th Fighter Squadron and reserve 466th Fighter Squadron, both located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, landed at RAF Lakenheath on Saturday — marking the first time the Air Force version of the jet has been sent abroad for training. Once the last two jets arrive on Wednesday, pilots will get ready to start training with U.S. F-15Cs and Es located at RAF Lakenheath, Eurofighter Typhoons owned by the U.K. Royal Air Force and perhaps Dutch F-16s, with further exercises still in the works, said Lt. Col. George Watkins, commander of the 34th Fighter Squadron. Lessons learned will help inform the bed down of U.S. Air Force F-35 squadrons that will be permanently based at Lakenheath in the early 2020s.

The deployment comes at a delicate time for the U.S.-Russian relationship, which was rocked by the U.S. military’s recent Tomahawk strike on Syria that was prompted by a deadly chemical weapons attack on civilians. As a result, the Air Force has walked a thin line on messaging, with statements noting that although it was partially bankrolled by the European Reassurance Initiative funds meant to boost NATO capability against a resurgent Russia, the deployment was long-planned and should not be understood as a response to heightened tensions in the region.

Watkins characterized the deployment to Europe as a “natural progression” that started with a proof-of-concept deployment last year to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, followed by the squadron’s recent trip to Nellis AFB, Nevada, for Red Flag. “All that was done locally [in the United States], and then this is our first overseas deployment with the F-35, so we’re just taking it step by step,” he said. “We came to a base where they are looking forward to hosting F-35s in the future as an organic squadron here, so we’re kind of taking ideas and learning from these guys, and doing some local training, and then we’ll return back to Hill.” Over the first week, F-35 pilots will start off doing air-to-air exercises with U.S. Air Force F-15Cs and F-15Es permanently located at Lakenheath, as well as engagements against other F-35As acting as adversary air, Watkins said. Pilots will practice dogfighting one-on-one and doing combat maneuvers in two-on-two formations with simulated weapons, including the laser-guided GBU-12, 2,000-pound joint direct attack munition and A-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile. From there, activities will ramp up to small and large force exercises with U.K. Eurofighter Typhoons and potentially Dutch F-16s, he said. Other NATO aircraft could also join in for that training, but have not been confirmed yet.

“We’re not super firm if the Dutch are playing with us or not, and it’s not out of the question to have other NATO fourth-gen players participate in our exercise as well,” he said. All training exercises will take place over U.K. airspace — further minimizing the risk of miscalculation by Russia or other nations. However, F-35s will conduct “out and back” flights to other NATO countries to familiarize themselves with the region, although the locations of those sorties will not be announced will not be announced until after the planes have safely landed back at Lakenheath. The Air Force has sent 215 pilots, maintainers, support personnel and security officers to England. That’s more manpower than what’s needed for an event of this size, but the service wanted as many airmen as possible to benefit from the deployment, Watkins explained.

For day-to-day maintenance, management and mission planning, operators will rely on the F-35’s logistics hub, the Autonomic Logistics Information System. “We’ve had pretty good luck with ALIS so far,” he said. “We sent a team to make sure that everything was set up and ALIS was running, and they got it set up in record time. It went really smooth to get everything set up, hooked up and talking across the IP addresses.”

Although the deployment so far has proceeded without any major problems, Watkins acknowledged that a small snag has led to the delay of two jets arriving in England. During the initial flight to Lakenheath, a pilot noticed he had a fuel tank float valve that didn’t seem to be reading correctly, and opted to have maintenance check it out as a “routine safety precaution,” he said. That aircraft and an additional F-35 acting as its wingman stayed behind at Bangor, Maine, before flying to the United Kingdom today. “It ended up not being an issue, but we wanted to make extra sure of that before crossing the Atlantic,” Watkins said.

...uh, what does an F-35A look like on another F-35A sensor(aesa radar) display???
:)
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 19:28

Another side to the story which is different to above story (aborted at HILL) but whatever - just report notions not facts.
2 More F-35s to Join Fleet in Europe After Fuel Valve Glitch
19 Apr 2017 Oriana Pawlyk

"...Six fifth-generation aircraft from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, originally flew out on Saturday; two additional aircraft will join the rotation this week after one stayed stateside for a small maintenance fix, said Lt. Col. George Watkins, commander of the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill.

Before crossing the Atlantic, the pilot of the aircraft noticed a fuel tank float valve mishap, Watkins said. As a routine safety precaution, the aircraft stayed back until the issue was resolved.

“They diverted two of the airplanes, one with the problem, one as the wingman to Bangor, Maine,” said Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, a former F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot who directs the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program’s integration office for the service.

“There are no F-35 maintenance people at Bangor, so you now have to fly people from Hill Air Force Base … out, to do the troubleshooting on the airplane and then fix the airplane,” Pleus told Military.com at the Pentagon Wednesday.

The Air Force would have had to wait for available tankers to then fly alongside the fighters to Lakenheath, said the general, who is moving on to a new post at Air Combat Command.

“You can’t just say that the airplane took five days to fix — the airplane could have taken two hours to fix, but to get tankers and logistics folks out there” it takes longer, he said.

“Realize, it’s a very difficult, logistical challenge to move fighter planes across the ocean,” Pleus said. “The Air Force makes it look very easy when we do it, because we do it all the time.”

Pleus said hiccups are standard no matter whether the service is dealing with an older, fourth-generation F-16 or a brand new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Air Force has contingency plans in place in case of any kind of snafu, he said.

“Fighter airplanes are extremely technologically complicated machines, [like] high performance sports cars that require lots of maintenance and lots of work; in this case, it was out of caution the pilot decided [he] had an anomaly, and said it was best” to check it out...."

Source: https://www.dodbuzz.com/2017/04/19/2-mo ... ve-glitch/
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 21:34

Salute!

Kinda makes you admire our 354th TFW loggies and AMU's and everybody that took 72 planes , wrench-benders and all the support troops from The Beach to Korat in 6 days. Each squad flew for 4 days. Some loggies and back shop folks went ahead, but most of the AMU folks were on the same schedule as their planes/pilots. So I knew the troop that marshalled me into the parking spot and cleared me to taxi the next day.

All 72 jets got there, and one troop from the 355th and ol' Gums came in with the 353rd TFS.
========

I was surprised by the number of tankers per Stubbie. I do not think that is accurate. The Sluf had great legs and they still overbooked us on the fuel as I have previously recounted. My recollection is we had a 6-ship tied on to two tankers, maybe three but I doubt it. The extra tankers were there in case the lead dog had a bad transfer system or a Sluf dweeb broke something on the boom.

I only recall tanking about four times on the longest leg - DM to Hickham. Seems we went about 500 n.m. between hookups, and had enuf gas to go all the way forward or all the way back. With four bags we could have extended that. I flew one day from Seattle to The Beach non-stop with 4 bags, but had a good tailwind and plenty of divert fields, heh heh.

As with the Stubbie, our early Sluf trips had few folks used to the jet and no spare parts, etc. We saw that on the 354th deployment, and the closest maintenance support we had for our trip was at Guam. Navy A-7E support from Subic was available, but would be a day away.

Gums recalls...
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Unread post20 Apr 2017, 23:42

Gums wrote:Salute!

Kinda makes you admire our 354th TFW loggies and AMU's and everybody that took 72 planes , wrench-benders and all the support troops from The Beach to Korat in 6 days.....

Gums recalls...


Actually that is impressive ... but unless this is the same week ... and it might be because I think you said you were at Korat then ... But a certain week in May 1975 had to be by far the standard bearer, never to be broken again I imagine, ... when over half of Okinawa, and mite near everything west of the Mississippi landed at Guam and nearly sank the island (see! That congressman was right!)... We didn't even know what we were going to refuel half the time, or often where we were even going till in the air ... or so it seems ... to old man memories that blurred back then by lack of sleep ... even parts of my flight log seems missing what I think I recall .. musta been a dream...

They don't do that any more. The young pilots and 'spensive planes need to be mothered a bit more :D :D ,

BP recalls...
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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 15:25

Patiently waiting for the results of F-35 vs. F-15 air to air combat sorties...
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Unread post21 Apr 2017, 15:56

mixelflick wrote:Patiently waiting for the results of F-35 vs. F-15 air to air combat sorties...

I'd be surprised to see any ratios like that. Not really the purpose of this exercise which seems to be interoperability and political (imo). We did plenty of fighting with the Eagles while I was in the program and it always turned out the way it was supposed to. They don't see the F-35, they just get shot. It took a while but I finally realized that kill ratio is a somewhat antiquated measurement when it comes to fifth gen. Not to say that killing bad guys and not losing good guys is antiquated but saying that if all an F-35 is doing is killing red air than its not doing everything it should be doing to exploit the battlespace as a whole. Throughout my years in the program I consistently found those moments and metrics where I had a 5th gen "aha" moment. There are many more of those to come I'm sure. Grab
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Unread post22 Apr 2017, 01:14

"An F-35A Lightning II refuels over North America en route to its deployed location in Europe April 15, 2017. The U.S. Air Force deployed the F-35A Lightning IIs, approximately 250 Airmen and associated equipment, to Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, on a long-planned training deployment to conduct air training with other Europe based aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb)" https://media.defense.gov/2017/Apr/18/2 ... 0-0926.JPG (3.7Mb)
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Unread post24 Apr 2017, 19:26

There are unconfirmed rumors circulating in the Estonian press that F-35's will arrive here tomorrow:
http://news.err.ee/591794/f-35-lightnin ... on-tuesday

Not so happy that some asshat leaked it (if true) but would be really glad to see them here :applause:
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Unread post25 Apr 2017, 00:07

http://www.defensenews.com/articles/is- ... -in-europe

In surprise, F-35s reportedly visiting Estonia

By: Valerie Insinna,
April 24, 2017

WASHINGTON — U.S. Air Force F-35s will reportedly arrive in Estonia on Tuesday, putting the service’s newest jet fighter even closer to Russia’s doorstep, according to an Estonian media report. An undisclosed number of F-35As are heading to Ämari Air Base in Estonia, and, after landing on Tuesday, will be in the country for “several weeks” to conduct training flights with aircraft from the U.S. and allied militaries, the Estonian public broadcaster ERR stated in a report Monday.
A spokesman for the Air Force declined to confirm the deployment to Defense News, stating that any information on the F-35s' movements will be available only after they have landed.

The Air Force’s version of the joint strike fighter is in the throes of its first international training deployment. Eight F-35As from the active-duty 34th Fighter Squadron and Reserve 466th Fighter Squadron have deployed from Hill Air Force Base in Utah to RAF Lakenheath since April 15. The F-35’s trip to Europe is being conducted under the auspices of the European Reassurance Initiative — the Defense Department’s buzzword for a series of exercises and training opportunities with NATO allies meant to signal strength to Russia and improve interoperability.

If ERR’s report turns out to be accurate, the F-35’s trip to Estonia would come as a surprise to the public, and possibly to Russia as well. In a conference call last week with reporters, Air Force officials disclosed that the A model’s first European deployment would take place predominantly in the United Kingdom, with exercises over U.K. airspace. However, officials noted that the service also planned several “out and back” flights to other NATO nations that would help familiarize pilots with the region. Ämari Air Base is located in Harjumaa, a county in northwestern Estonia about a three-hour drive from the Russian border. The base has hosted squadrons of aircraft from NATO countries as well as F-22s, which visited the base in 2015 while conducting patrols of the Baltic states’ airspace.

Last week, Air Force officials said there were no plans for the aircraft to be involved in Baltic air policing missions meant to safeguard the skies above Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. However, the service has always maintained that the joint strike fighter is operational and could be called into combat or other operations if needed. The Defense Department has made several major demonstrations of air power over the past month, including Tomahawk strikes in Syria and the use of the Massive Ordnance Air Blast for the first time in Afghanistan. The movement of F-35s to the Baltic nations would also doubtlessly be seen as a message to Russia about the U.S. military’s strength during a time when the countries’ relationship appears to be eroding.
:)  
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Unread post25 Apr 2017, 05:54

The talk about staying for weeks is literally 'lost in translation' :D

The original Estonian source said that they are staying in Europe for a few weeks not specifically in Estonia. Most probably they are just passing by, as the F-22s were last year. Showing themselves and getting a 'sneak peek' of the airspaceban Ämari AB.

Still would be really glad to see them here :)
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Unread post25 Apr 2017, 07:14

Really wish they visit Estonia and wish that Finnish Air Force gets a chance to train with those F-35s... :drool:
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