A historic addition to Holloman's Heritage Park

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Elysia Wray
  • 49 Wing Public Affairs
History was made at Holloman AFB  Sep. 19 when the first German air force aircraft was unveiled in Heritage Park by Lt. Gen. Martin Schellis, German Air Force Operational Forces Command commander and Col. Robert Kiebler, 49th Wing commander.

"This is the first German aircraft to be accepted into the Air Force inventory," said James Burrett, 49th Wing historian. "They don't usually give away aircraft, normally they just give it out on a long term loan."

Burrett said the process to accession the aircraft took more than two years. What makes this accession so unique is that the entire process was handled at a Wing level. Matters like this are usually handled at the U.S. Air Force level.

Much credit goes to the crews from the German air force, 49th Maintenance Group, and 49th Civil Engineer Squadron that helped set up the Tornado 43+75 that is now on display at the Holloman Heritage Park, said Burrett.

Since the aircraft is considered a foreign gift the Secretary of the Air Force had to give the final authorization to accept the aircraft.

The German air force has operated at Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, since 1992 when its previous training location at George Air Force Base, California, ceased active operations and closed as a result of Base Realignment and Closure actions.  

The magnitude of accepting the Tornado 43+75 is to recognize the long history of the German air force here at Holloman and will demonstrate the close relationship the 49th Wing has with its German allies, said Burrett.

Tornado 43+75 took its first flight in January 1983 as a German naval aircraft. In May 1999 Tornado 43+75 became a German air force aircraft. It took its last flight in July 2012 when it reached its maximum flight hours of 4,324.25.

The acceptance of Tornado 43+75 saved the German government the cost of obtaining a qualified contractor to scrap the aircraft in place since it has reached the end of its life cycle.

After 30 years of flying the Tornado 43+75 can finally rest its wings at Heritage Park as a symbol of both the long and rich history between not only the 49th Wing but also the entire Air Force and our German allies. It is showcased proudly for all to see it will continue to be a beacon of our continued cooperation between the two allied forces.