Sprawling Alaska Complex Becomes Newest Home For F-35A

F-35 unit & base selection, delivery, activation
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spazsinbad

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Unread post20 Apr 2020, 17:00

Sprawling Alaska Complex Becomes Newest Home For F-35A
17 Apr 2020 Steve Trimble

"Tucked deep within Alaska’s rugged interior, next to a town named “North Pole,” Eielson AFB may seem an unlikely station for 54 Lockheed Martin F-35As. But the commander of the 354th Fighter Wing asserts the location is more central than it looks.... [this is explained]

...The 356th was reactivated seven months ago with only two employees—the squadron commander and the deputy. Since then, the squadron has added eight trained pilots and a full complement of trainers and maintainers, Bishop says. About 1,200 active duty personnel will be added to the base when the 356th and a still-unnamed second squadron are at full strength, doubling the size of the Alaskan base’s current workforce.

The Air Force has been preparing for Eielson’s dramatic growth since the F-35A basing announcement in 2016. The $500 million expansion project is made more challenging by the base’s location, which is 1.42 deg. of latitude, or about 85 nm, further north of Norway’s Orland Main Air Station, another F-35A base.

Norway qualified a drag parachute to slow the F-35A on icy arctic runways in winter. The Polish Air Force adopted the same modification with its announced F-35A selection in January, but the U.S. Air Force decided the added weight of the drag parachute is unnecessary. The Air Force decision is helped by the fact that Eielson boasts the world’s second-longest runway, at 14,507 ft., which the base’s busy snowplows work to keep clear through the long Alaskan winter, Bishop says. The F-35A is rated to land and take off from surfaces with a Runway Condition Rating (RCR) of 7, only two steps up from a completely iced-over RCR-5 surface.

“We have a whole team of airmen that are really focused on that [snow-removal] mission alone, and it’s not just the runways. It’s the taxiways, too,” Bishop says.

The Air Force also had to make other adjustments to the F-35A’s standard survival gear. The 18th Aggressor Sqdn., for example, includes a sleeping bag rated for -40F in the survival seat pack of the F-16, designed to keep pilots warm overnight after an ejection until they can be reached by a rescue team. But the same sleeping bag does not fit inside the F-35A seat pack, so the base’s support staff has stuffed the pack instead with supplemental heating equipment.

For maintainers, the Arctic weather presents another challenge. The Army Corps of Engineers is constructing a 16-bay shelter for the F-35A on Eielson’s permafrost terrain, the first of several such structures to support the aircraft during the Alaskan winter.

The shelter “is not really for the aircraft,” Bishop says. “It is more for the maintainers. When it’s -40F, it’s really difficult to work outside for an extended period.”" [poor bastards (a term of endearment)]

Source: https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... home-f-35a
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jessmo112

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Unread post20 Apr 2020, 17:08

How do they remove snow from such a large area without the use of Road salts? And how do they fly planes on it with no corrosion? Im sorry I am from vegas we dont get snowed in much in southern Nevada.
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Unread post20 Apr 2020, 17:24

IIRC there are explanations about snow removal methods during testing a couple of years ago now at the base. Also the F-35 variants have equal corrosion protection due to SALT SEA ENVIRONMENT that two variants live within some of the time.

Last video shows how an S-2 TRACKER USN CV-14 USS Ticonderoga copes with the salt sea environment well considering.
"...Q3.18 Can the F-35A stop on slippery and short runways like those often experienced at Canada’s northern aerodromes?
A3.18 The F-35 landing performance studies indicate that the aircraft can be stopped on a snowy runway in less than 6,000 feet without the use of additional stopping aids. When runways are contaminated with ice or a mix of slush, snow, and ice, the F-35 will require an additional stopping aid such as a drag chute or the emergency arresting hook to stop in less than 6000 feet. This is similar to the CF-18, which regularly uses the arresting hook to stop on short runways in icy conditions....” Source: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/pri/2/pro/ ... ng.asp#f35
OR viewtopic.php?f=58&t=24027&p=349917&hilit=snow#p349917

F-35A +/- Drag Chute Icy Runway Testing Eielson AFB Alaska 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUb3knbml1g


__________________________________________________________

F-35A Lightning II Completed Icy Runway Taxi Tests Dec 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h8_y0x5qBg


_________________________________________________________

F-35A Drag Chute Eielson AFB Alaska Test Winter Nov 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUWibskrX44



_________________________________________________________

S-2 Tracker Free Take Off into a Wave Spray High WOD Heroes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4-qYKiHL-I

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Unread post20 Apr 2020, 19:21

spazsinbad wrote:
Sprawling Alaska Complex Becomes Newest Home For F-35A
17 Apr 2020 Steve Trimble

"The shelter “is not really for the aircraft,” Bishop says. “It is more for the maintainers. When it’s -40F, it’s really difficult to work outside for an extended period.”" [poor bastards (a term of endearment)]

Source: https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/ ... home-f-35a


I've had to change the hydraulic pressure sensor, located in the left main gear bay, on a fully armed F-16 at our Banak base, located just above 70deg north, at -20C and 25 knots wind. I would not recommend this as a normal practice.
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Unread post20 Apr 2020, 20:30

jessmo112 wrote:How do they remove snow from such a large area without the use of Road salts? And how do they fly planes on it with no corrosion? Im sorry I am from vegas we dont get snowed in much in southern Nevada.


With a fleet of machines working 24 hours a day, the snow barn is efficient at clearing snow from the infrastructure of the base. First, a snow plow is used to pile up snow in berms before a sweeper comes in and removes snow the plow couldn’t get. Finally, a snow blower uses an auger to break down the berm and throw it off the tarmac or street. To completely clear an inch of snow off just the main runway, Airmen at the Snow Barn have to move 495,000 pounds of snow.


https://www.eielson.af.mil/News/Article ... val-daily/
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Unread post20 Apr 2020, 21:45

Thanks 'themanfromOZ' - there are photos of the snow removal equipment/process at the URL aslo (I know - yes)….. :roll:
"...Looking forward, the snow barn will need get creative when the F-35A Lightning II aircraft arrive. The team is currently looking for a different place to move snow that used to be thrown where the F-35s will be parked. “With the arrival of F-35s around the corner, we as a shop are gearing up for that by making necessary purchases and add-ons to more efficiently clear the base,” said Tech. Sgt. Ryan Bitton, 354th CES snow barn day shift noncommissioned officer in charge. Regardless of how big the storm, the snow barn has always figured out a way to prevent Eielson and the Iceman Team from being snowed in...." https://www.eielson.af.mil/News/Article ... val-daily/

PHOTO: "A 354th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and construction equipment operator plows snow from the flight line at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Nov. 26, 2019. The Airmen at the snow barn keep the infrastructure of the base as safe as possible by removing snow and ice in order to maintain a mission-ready status. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Beaux Hebert) https://media.defense.gov/2019/Nov/27/2 ... 2-1018.JPG (1.3Mb)

“A 354th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and construction equipment operator clears snow from the flight line at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Nov. 26, 2019. To completely clear one inch of snow off of the runway, 354 CES Airmen have to move approximately 495,000 pounds of snow. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Beaux Hebert)” https://media.defense.gov/2019/Nov/27/2 ... 2-1011.JPG (1.5Mb)

"A 354th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and construction equipment operator removes snow from the flight line at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Nov. 26, 2019. The runway at Eielson is always active, and therefore must remain free of debris at all times. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Beaux Hebert)" https://media.defense.gov/2019/Nov/27/2 ... 2-1052.JPG (1.09Mb)

"John Kowalski, the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron director of airfield snow removal operations, checks the blade on a plow on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Nov. 21, 2019. Snow barn and vehicle maintenance Airmen work closely together to ensure all equipment is properly maintained due to extensive use and harsh winter conditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Beaux Hebert)" https://media.defense.gov/2019/Nov/27/2 ... 2-1053.JPG (1.65Mb)
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Unread post21 Apr 2020, 03:24

The first F-35s for Alaska might be arriving tomorrow: http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com/news_m ... 028c3.html
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Unread post21 Apr 2020, 13:27

Perhaps its just me, but even the F-35A looks a lot more "robust" vs. the F-15 or 16. In particular, the under-carraige looks beefier and better able to cope with difficult runway conditions.

The main gear in particular, looks awful rugged. Much moreso than the F-16 and even the F-15. In some ways its reminds me of Russian fighters designed to operate well... anywhere lol.
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Unread post21 Apr 2020, 14:31

F-35's MLG tire looks substantially bigger and fatter than F-16's.
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Unread post22 Apr 2020, 22:57

Eielson welcomes F-35A Lightning II
21 Apr 2020 Airman 1st Class Aaron Guerrisky, 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

"EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- It was an historic day for Eielson as the base received its first two F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft April 21, 2020. With the arrival, Eielson is now Pacific Air Forces’ first base to house the fifth-generation fighter aircraft....

...With a total of 54 F-35As scheduled to arrive by December 2021, Alaska will be the most concentrated state for combat-coded, fifth-generation fighter aircraft. The state will also continue to be a premiere training location as home to the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex’s 75,000 square miles of airspace.

“When you station the F-35 at Eielson and you have the F-22 Raptor down at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, working together in the JPARC with our 18th Aggressor Squadron and ground training assets, you have the perfect training field for the F-35 to develop,” said Bishop [Col. Benjamin Bishop, the 354th Fighter Wing commander]...."

Source: https://www.eielson.af.mil/News/Article ... htning-ii/
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Unread post22 Apr 2020, 23:14

Eielson Receives PACAF’s First Two F-35s
21 Apr 2020 Amy McCullough

"...A third F-35 is set to arrive this month, with follow-on aircraft filling out two squadrons and expanding Eielson’s fleet from 30 aircraft to 84 by the end of 2021. The base also hosts nine KC-135 Stratotankers from the Alaska Air National Guard and 21 F-16 Fighting Falcons—one of USAF’s two organic Aggressor squadrons.

“Once the beddown is complete, with 54 aircraft, the state of Alaska will have the highest concentration of combat-coded fifth-generation aircraft anywhere in the Department of Defense,” Bishop [354th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Ben Bishop] said. In addition to Eielson’s F-35s, two F-22 squadrons are based at nearby Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska....

...With tanker support, Eielson is just one fighter sortie from any target in both the Indo-Pacom and European theaters, Bishop said. Eielson’s Airmen also have operational experience over the Arctic, a region of increasingly important strategic interest as the Polar Icecap melts and the region becomes accessible to more nations.

“This is a contested environment and the weather can be very challenging,” Bishop said. “We have a team here at Eielson that’s used to this environment, and bringing the F-35 here is an opportunity to project power from this strategic location.”

The F-35 was not designed to carry sleeping bags or other equipment needed to protect pilots if they ever need to eject in -40 temperatures, which are common in the Arctic region. Bishop said the wing is working to ensure Arctic survival kits are ready for the winter flying season.

By the end of 2021, the number of Airmen at Eielson is expected to nearly double, from about 1750 in 2019 to 3,250. The wing has eight qualified F-35 pilots now and more than 90 maintainers, enough to accept delivery of the first aircraft. Growth plans are stymied by the Defense Department’s stop movement order [virus related], however....

...To accommodate all those new Airmen, the Air Force is investing $500 million in dozens of building projects at Eielson, including new hangars, an F-35 flight simulator, munitions storage, and a new school. Of 41 military construction projects associated with the F-35 beddown, 28 are complete.

“What’s unique about Eielson is that we haven’t deactivated anything” while preparing to take on all those new fighters, Bishop said. “This is all additive.”

Source: https://www.airforcemag.com/eielson-rec ... two-f-35s/
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Unread post23 Apr 2020, 14:38

F-22's and 35's together in Alaska...

You couldn't ask for a more majestic place to base these 2 5th gens, and it's probably fortunate the F-35 is up there. Being as big as it is, flying in AK is going to require some legs and as a tactical fighter, the F-35 is clearly best equipped to meet that requirement.

True, Strike Eagles also have plenty of endurance but that depends too... on things like what it's carrying, whether it has to penetrate an area down low etc.. I wonder if the F-15EX comes to pass if they'll put it up there. Would seem to make sense given the number of Russian incursions and the air policing mission. F-15EX's would be ideally suited, and would free up F-22's for a higher purpose (forward deployed to hotspots around the globe).
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Unread post23 Apr 2020, 16:30

The F35 can't operate in the cold and winter and its single engine is a drawback patrolling the emptiness of the arctic - Canadian public.

:roll:
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Unread post24 Apr 2020, 03:32

pushoksti wrote:The F35 can't operate in the cold and winter and its single engine is a drawback patrolling the emptiness of the arctic - Canadian public.

:roll:



spazsinbad wrote:The F-35 was not designed to carry sleeping bags or other equipment needed to protect pilots if they ever need to eject in -40 temperatures, which are common in the Arctic region. Bishop said the wing is working to ensure Arctic survival kits are ready for the winter flying season.




Thank god the Canadians will have a new gripe.
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Unread post24 Apr 2020, 03:43

pushoksti wrote:The F35 can't operate in the cold and winter and its single engine is a drawback patrolling the emptiness of the arctic - Canadian public.

:roll:

It no more of a drawback in the arctic, than when flying over water. Engines don't tend to have issues while cruising at 40k feet. FOD during take off/landing is where the most problems will occur.
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