A Lebanese pilot has completed the first training flight in the A-29 Super Tucano international pilot training program at the 81st Fighter Squadron, Moody AFB, Ga. The Lebanese initiative was announced by the Air Force in December, and is being modeled after the successful Afghan pilot training program operating at Moody since 2014. The 81st FS plans to train a total of 12 Lebanese pilots and about 20 maintainers in the first round, which should be complete sometime in 2018. “We’ve got one student with one flight under his belt but it’s a small victory for us,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Hill, 81st FS commander, in a press release. “These guys will be fully-trained operational combat pilots in the A-29 aircraft. The ultimate goal is for them to fight ISIS on their eastern border.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.