Timing still uncertain for F-22 training unit move to Langley

News
A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor with the 43rd Fighter Squadron undergoes routine maintenance at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Feb. 23, 2021. Maintenance crews were preparing to load missiles for an upcoming training day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Brad Sturk)


Dave Ress

Daily Press

The move-in dates for some 760 Air Force personnel and contractors coming to Joint Base Langley Eustis, already postponed from an earlier target date of this fall, are still to be determined, the Air Combat Command said.

The transfer of an Air Force F-22 Formal Training Unit from Florida to Langley was approved earlier this year, but a new study of the Air Force’s current and future aircraft requirements needs to be completed first. That study was commissioned shortly before the completion of the environmental impact state that gave a green light to the move.

“We are in the process of establishing a move date, but the tactical air study is not expected to be completed for several months,” the Air Combat Command said.

Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown Jr. ordered the tactical air study in February, aiming to have it in hand in time for Pentagon budget-writers as they draft the fiscal 2023 military spending plan.

The study will focus on what kinds of fighters and how many the Air Force will need, including both the F-22 and the F-35, The move of the F-22 training unit to Langley is intended to free up space at Eglin Air Force Base for an additional F-35 training unit.

This spring, the Air Force said moving its F-22 training operation to Langley from Eglin would probably be delayed from this fall until next summer.

The relocation involves the 43rd Fighter Squadron and the 43rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, which fly and maintain the F-22s, as well as the 2nd Fighter Training Squadron, which flies T-38 training aircraft, and the 325th Training Support Squadron, which runs the academic and simulator training for the F-22s.

Those units have been operating out of Eglin since a hurricane in 2018 damaged its longstanding home at Tyndall Air Force Base

The move to Langley will bring 31 F-22 fighters here, as well as 16 T-38s, which are used to represent hostile aircraft.

The Air Force has said the number of F-22 flights from Langley’s airfield would rise from 22,677 a year now to 49,119 when the training unit is up and fully operational. T-38 flights would increase from 16,000 a year to 47,866.

New facilities needed include a 68,000 square foot maintenance facility with four bays, a building to house classrooms, eight full-mission simulators and 16 weapons and tactics trainers, a hangar with six bays as well as space for aircraft maintenance personnel and a 120-person dormitory.

The Air Force is planning to expand the flight line and apron, and renovate the Child Development Center.

©2021 Daily Press. Visit dailypress.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.