F-22 Savannah Training Increases Student Lethality

This article is from Air Combat Command News.  This is the training at the Savannah CRTC that I posted about in late February/Early March.

by Ashley M. Wright
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/21/2013 – TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  — Members of the 325th Fighter Wing recently completed training in Savannah, Ga., allowing F-22 Raptor student pilots to more accurately test the stealth capabilities of the aircraft and accomplish nearly twice the amount of normal training.

“The temporary duty was to the Georgia Combat Readiness Training Center,” said Capt. Christopher Sweeney, 43rd Fighter Squadron instructor pilot. “The purpose was to utilize support assets so that Tyndall could gain training days and accomplish Dissimilar Air Combat Training.”

F-22 students refueled, integrated with and fought against T-38 Talons, KC-135 Stratotankers, F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-18 Hornets and F-15C Eagles on the trip, explained the captain .Typically, students fly against T-38s here at Tyndall AFB. However, the T-38s do not provide the sophisticated radar value to students. Bringing the more modern aircraft allowed real-time feedback about the world’s first 5th generation fighter visibility to aircraft similar to what potential ememies might be flying.

“It was truly an experience no student has had before,” Sweeney said. “Savannah offered a unique experience due to airspace location. The training airspace is extremely close to Shaw AFB with F-16s, McEntire Joint National Guard Base with F-16s, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort with F-18s, and Jacksonville International with F-15Cs.”

Another benefit to the students included increased missions.

“The 43rd FS and 43rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit saw a significant decrease in F-22 attrition,” Sweeney said. “Due to the increase of sortie production and asset utilization, a total of 45 student missions, normally taking four weeks, were accomplished in only two weeks.”

Part of the reason for the increased production was due to including T-38s from Tyndall in the adversary force as well as the KC-135s.

“The KC-135s supported adversary aircraft allowing them to participate in multiple missions. Without T-38 and KC-135 support, we would have seen a drastic decrease in sortie production,” the captain said.

In total, the 325th Training Support Squadron flew 96 sorties in less than 10 flying days with six T-38s, said Maj. Chad Lichty, 325th TRSS training chief.

“From a flying perspective, it is was a good TDY and cost effective,” Lichty said.

The 325th TRSS manages training resources and conducts unrivaled academic and realistic simulator training to produce America’s Air Dominance Team of F-22 pilots, air battle managers and intelligence officers for worldwide assignment all starting at Tyndall.

“This was the first time the 325th TRSS deployed T-38 advisory aircraft to support the mission,” the major said.

The larger additional advisory forces gave another benefit to the students, Sweeney said. The F-22 students joined with the F-15s playing on the same team, thus, showing the students how different Air Force platforms integrate.

“In the final stage of student training, there is an increase of aircraft support required,” Sweeney said. “For example, on an escort ride, the aircraft needed would be, two F-22s, two strikers (F-16s or F-18s), and four adversary aircraft. We benefited due to the 66 sorties the F-15, F-16 and F-18s provided. With no support, the 43rd FS would see the number of student missions roughly cut in half to accommodate the increased requirement. Because of the support assets, rather than cutting our missions in half, we actually doubled our production rate.”

The 43rd FS holds the primary responsibility of training F-22 pilots and provides a pivotal role in Tyndall’s overall mission of projecting and training unrivaled combat power.

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