TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Florida —
The 325th Fighter Wing is scheduled to receive F-35A Lightning II aircraft beginning in September 2023 as part of a move that supports national defense strategy by pursuing air superiority objectives. As the “facility of the future” prepares for its new set of missions, Tyndall staff and contractors think about the flight line and facilities as bespoke. The 325 FW F-35 Program Integration Office is spearheading this effort.
The mission of the PIO is to identify current and future requirements in support of the F-35A bed-down at Tyndall.
Prior to innovating on the F-35A installations, the PIO coordinated with engineers from the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron to design a plan that optimized operational and combat readiness. Now, as construction continues, they are working together to ensure that the F-35A mission will have all the required capabilities, while simultaneously planning for the joint strike fighter’s long-term development over the next few years. years.
“We looked at Tyndall and started to break it down, what needs to go where, what puzzle pieces need to fit where, it’s like a big game of chess,” said Senior Staff Sergeant. Nathan Summers, 325th FW F-35 PIO senior enlisted leader.
The PIO generates interior and exterior requirements for the F-35A facilities that will enable optimum productivity and efficiency once the jets arrive. Tyndall’s Program Management Office, the unit responsible for long-term development and rebuilding the base, takes those requirements and designs 3D diagrams to visualize what the space will look like when complete.
The PIO team is made up of members from a variety of backgrounds such as avionics, communications, maintenance, pilots, and aerospace ground equipment. Each member is hand-selected from their respective fields to use their past experience to consider all facets of the F-35A mission.
“Everyone has a role in a facility and what it’s going to look like when the F-35A gets here,” Summers explained. “The moment we built [PIO] was (to try) to get people who know the F-35.
Even with a wealth of knowledge in their office, PIO works with other Air Force bases. This allows them to take advantage of research and operations conducted within the service, saving time and money.
“There are several bases that have put together F-35 squadrons, so we’re asking them questions,” Tech said. sergeant. Ward Swenson, communications manager for the 325th FW F-35 PIO. “We all have a slightly different mission, but overall the main scope of the project is the same; how do we get the F-35s here and make them as transparent as possible. We try to position ourselves to be ready [upon their arrival].”
The 325 FW continues to train and equip Airmen ready to deploy worldwide in support of combat operations. Implementation of the F-35A mission set will increase lethality by placing the Air Force’s latest fifth-generation fighter at Tyndall’s strategic location along the Gulf Coast, enhancing capability to provide air superiority and global precision attack in high-end threat environments. It starts with the small team with a big mission at the PIO.