A pair of freshly refurbished T-38 Talons landed at Tyndall AFB, Fla., enhancing combat training for the 325th Fighter Wing’s F-22s. The two T-38s, regenerated at Holloman AFB, N.M., arrived on Oct. 6. They are the first of 20 earmarked for Tyndall for use as dedicated aggressor aircraft. Up until now, Raptor pilots have been forced to fly simulators, or duel other F-22s. “Using the F-22 to replicate the bad guy isn’t the most efficient means of resources,” stressed Lt. Col. Glen Richards, 325th FW program integration officer. “Half of the F-22 pilots aren’t training to the standards that we would prefer for combat training since half are replicating enemy aircraft,” noted Lt. Col. Ronald Miller, 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group deputy commander. Operating less expensive T-38s, “will provide higher standards of training for all of the F-22 pilots,” he said. (Tyndall report by A1C Christopher Reel) (See also Raptor versus Talon.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.