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  • F-35A crew swap provides flexibility for training, combat

    Maintainers and pilots in the 388th Fighter Wing recently completed the first operational rapid crew swap exercise with the F-35A Lightning II. Other aircraft like bombers, tankers, helicopters, and twin engine fighters have been doing ‘hot crew swaps’ for some time. Until now, it hasn’t been safe to do with a single engine fighter, but the F-35’s maintenance-friendly design provided Airmen here an opportunity to develop this capability.
  • F-35 maintainers at Hill shaping future with BOLT

    After several months, an innovative program in the 388th Fighter Wing is proving it has the potential to deliver combat power more efficiently and may shape how the Air Force determines future requirements to sustain F-35A Lightning II operations. The Blended Operational Lightning Technician program could be described as an Air Force version of a start-up company. BOLT combines six maintenance-specific Air Force Specialty Codes, essentially job descriptions, into two “tracks.” Currently there are more than 30 Airmen in the BOLT program. “Blended” maintainers in the Air Vehicle track are crew chiefs, fuels and low observable technicians. Airmen in the Mission Systems track focus on avionics, weapons, and egress.
  • 388th Maintenance Group eying future time, cost savings with 3-D printing

    The 388th Maintenance Group’s Air Force Repair and Enhancement Program shop recently acquired a 3-D printer with the hope of increasing availability and driving down costs for certain F-35 replacement parts. 3-D printing, also called additive manufacturing, uses a computer-controlled machine to form automatically-fed material into a three dimensional object. In this case, aircraft parts.
  • F-35A deployment brings advanced airpower capability to Europe

    This weekend’s deployment of an initial six F-35A Lightning II fighters and several hundred Airmen to Europe demonstrates the aircraft’s readiness to conduct operations with America’s European partners, according to Air Force leaders. The April 15 arrival at Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath, U.K., marks the first major overseas training deployment for the aircraft and begins several weeks of training for F-35 pilots, maintainers and support personnel with allied and partner nations.
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