After 15 years of operations, the F-16 Intelligence Formal Training Unit at Luke AFB, Ariz., graduated its 1,000th student. “The 1,000th graduate is an important milestone because it shows how far we have come,” said Ed Rutkowski, the unit’s course manager, who became an instructor at the schoolhouse shortly after it commenced activities in late 1997. The IFTU reached the milestone on May 11 when the latest crop of 11 students graduated from the five-week course. “The course has given me a detailed understanding of how to tactically employ F-16s,” said 1st Lt. Kevin Lukowiak, one of the graduates. He is chief of intelligence academics with the 23rd Fighter Group at Moody AFB, Ga. The course is designed for intelligence airmen assigned to F-16 units. Rutkowski said the instruction starts with discussion of F-16 fundamentals and then progresses into the aircraft’s capabilities. The course also covers threat aircraft and anti-aircraft missiles, he said. (Luke report by SrA. Melanie Holochwost)
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.