ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE – Task Force Agile Jester from the 54th Air Refueling Squadron teamed up with Airmen from the 944th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., And the Arizona Air National Guard to conduct a Air-to-air refueling exercise, Nov. 15-19.
During the exercise, several KC-135 Stratotankers refueled F-35 Lightning II and F-16 Fighting Falcon from Luke AFB as well as C-17 Globemaster III and KC-46 Pegasus from AAFB , Day and night.
âLuke AFB has asked us to refuel and we usually send a plane for five days to finish it, but we also want to incorporate as much training as possible on our side,â said Major Hans Foster, deputy operations officer. of the 54th Air Refueling Squadron. . âWe sent out several planes with students one day at a time so that students and instructors had time to debrief and digest the new material. “
The refueling of the F-35s and F-16s provided a new opportunity for AAFB crew instructors to practice a task they hope to familiarize crew students more with.
“The 19th Air Force asked Altus to launch a familiarization program not necessarily to certify but to expose students to fighter refueling so that they were not completely new to the operational field,” Foster said. âWith this training, we get repetitions and maintain the continuity of the instructors. “
This joint training will help show students not only what to expect when they arrive at their first duty station, but also instill new concepts of Agile Combat Employment (ACE).
âThe idea of ââACE is to be able to maintain flexibility and operate across multiple airfields as needed, and local command authority is delegated through mission type orders that allow the team to ‘operate alone on these airfields,’ said Staff Sgt. Brendan Balko, 54th Air Refueling Squadron superintendent of student training management.
Balko added that training missions like these will ideally reduce the need for additional training for aircrew once the students arrive at their first duty station.
“This commercial effort, along with other local opportunities in Altus, allows booming students to familiarize themselves with combat air refueling and hopefully this will also reduce the number of combat flights in their winning bases for. certification, âBalko said.