HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFNS) – The 388th Fighter Wing set a speed record for bringing online a newly delivered aircraft last week, flying a local sortie less than five hours after accepting delivery of its 68th F-38A Lightning II.
Aircraft tail number 5261 left Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, production facility a little after 8 a.m. August 1, landed at Hill Air Force Base at 10 a.m., and by 3 p.m. had taken off on its first combat training mission.
“The F-35A program’s production and delivery path was designed to allow rapid aircraft induction and quick use by the customers, “said Col. Micheal Miles, 388th Maintenance Group commander. “We’ve shown the enterprise it’s possible”.
This isn’t just a “gee-whiz” record. In theory, it means that F-35A could be deployed directly from the factory into combat if a larger scale conflict ever drives that needs, Miles said.
When a new F-35A comes off the line at the production facility, it undergoes several contract and government check flights before the Air Force accepts final delivery. These flights generate data points that are collected in the Automatic Logistics Information System and then passed on the gaining unit, in this case the 388th FW.
The previous timline for introducing new aircraft was measured in days and weeks, but the process and system improvemnts in the data collection and transfer process bodies well for the future, said Chief Master Sgt. Trey Munn, 388th Maintenance Group enlisted manager.
“We’ve been working toward this goal as the program has matured and this is a great step, and a treatment to the work of the folks at Lockheed Martin, the Joint Program Office, and the Airmen in the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings, “Munn said.
The 388th and 419th FWs are the Air Force’s first combat-capable F-35 units. The first operational F-35As arrived at the Hill AFB in October 2015.
The active duty 388th FW and Air Force Reserve 419th FW fly and maintain the jet in a Total Force partnership, which capitalizes on the strength of both components. By the end of this year, Hill AFB will be home to 78 F-35s.
Read the original article here in Business Insider.