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Tyndall AFB replaces T-38's with new aircraft to simulate realistic air-to-air combat

By TONY MIXON | The News Herald | Published: December 22, 2020

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE (Tribune News Service) — Airmen at Tyndall Air Force Base will be undergoing more realistic air-to-air combat training for the next year or two with the arrival of the F-1 Mirage aircraft unit.

The F-1 made its arrival on Dec. 14 and now Tyndall will house the unit of six aircraft, five pilots and 30 maintenance personnel. Tyndall has partnered with Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) to bring in the F-1's to replace the T-38 Talons.

The pilots will begin training in January using Tyndall's air space.

Through the partnership, pilots at Tyndall will gain realistic air-to-air combat training. This new partnership will enable F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning pilots to engage in tactical airborne training, adversary air live training at Tyndall. It also will allow live training at Eglin Air Force Base and other neighboring bases.

This will allow Tyndall officials to free up some resources used to self-generate adversary air combat and more effectively use those available flying hours for training and increasing its levels of proficiency and readiness.

"Adversary air is the most efficient training aide and this is something that (Air Combat Command) has been working toward for a couple of years now," said Lt. Col. Jason White, director of operations for the 325th Operations Support Squadron. "The aircraft will use non-live munitions, launch and meet in the air space for simulated training, including radio and radar operations for the purpose of training."

White added that pilots would acquire the target, or the adversary, simulate engaging the adversary and then simulate firing missiles at the aircraft.

White said that the Gulf of Mexico is a "national resource" when it comes to using it as a training air space. He said the size and the dimension allows them to host an entire simulated air war.

ATAC's Mirage training program is anticipated to fly more than 1,100 sorties during the next several years to provide adversary air support to the 43rd Fighter Squadron. The 43rd Fighter Squadron is the schoolhouse for the F-22's and the F-35's.

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