Reserve pilots and loadmasters from Duke Field, Fla., are cross training to the Dornier C-146 Wolfhound light airlifter and preparing for the stand up a new squadron to operate it, officials announced. A total of six pilots and four loadmasters from Air Force Reserve Command’s 5th Special Operations Squadron have thus far completed Wolfhound training at Cannon AFB, N.M. AFRC and Air Force Special Operations Command plan to activate the 49th SOS as a new associate unit to provide aircrew training with the aircraft at Duke. “This is a continuation of what the 5th has been doing for the past seven years” partnering with AFSOC, said Maj. Austin White, 5th SOS Det. 1 commander in a release. Duke has already received a C-145/C-146 cockpit trainer, according to the release. AFSOC is replacing the smaller Skytruck in the forward special operations support role, and expanding the Wolfhound fleet from 16 to 23 aircraft as part of its overall fleet recap, according to officials at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla.
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.