Wednesday, February 02, 2011

F-35 Students To Train on Talons, F-16s

SOURCE DEFENSE NEWS Future U.S. Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilots will train on both the T-38 Talon supersonic jet-trainer and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter before moving on to the fifth-generation jet, a service official said.
That mimics the curriculum currently followed by pilots destined for the F-22. Raptor students train on the T-38, then take an eight-flight "bridge course" in the more capable F-16. The bridge course includes day and night aerial refueling and operating sensors and data-links under the stress of 9 Gs, said Col. Ken G. Griffin, chief of flying training requirements at the service's Air Education and Training Command.
"We're starting to talk about that in terms of a fifth-gen bridge course. As the F-35 gets closer, we intend to continue the same [concept of operations] with F-35 that we use with the F-22 right now," Griffin said.
Unlike the F-16 and F-15, the F-22 and F-35 lack a dual-cockpit variant, so some pilot training takes place in a two-seat F-16D-model plane.
Traditionally, prospective fighter pilots undergo advanced pilot training and a supplementary course called Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals in the T-38 before going directly to their Formal Training Units to convert to an operational aircraft such as the F-15 Eagle or F-16. The six-week introduction course is designed to instill the fundamental fighter-pilot mentality and basic skill set required to fly those warplanes. However, the current T-38 is unequal to the task of preparing new aviators for fifth-generation fighters such as the F-22 Raptor or the forthcoming F-35.
The F-16 solution is a stopgap measure, said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst at the Teal Group, Fairfax, Va. The F-16 fleet is wearing out and is far more costly to operate than a relatively simple trainer, he said. Eventually, the Air Force will be forced to replace the decades-old Talon in favor of a newer jet-trainer, Aboulafia said.

No comments:

Post a Comment

no offensive and abusive language please