The 19th Fighter Squadron, an F-15 unit at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, recently received the Raytheon Trophy for 2009, being recognized as the Air Force’s best air-to-air fighter squadron. Ironically, the award comes in the unit’s last year of operations as it is one of the squadrons set for decommissioning under USAF’s planned legacy fighter drawdown. “Although it doesn’t feel good to close down a squadron, it does feel good to finish off our last full year as a Raytheon Trophy Winner,” said Lt. Col Suhr, 19th FS director of operations. In late March, members of the unit returned from training exercises in Hawaii and Thailand, having completed the squadron’s last deployments. The Minnesota Air Guard’s 148th FW won the trophy for 2008. (JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam report by TSgt. Cohen Young)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.