Who is Turning Engines Again?

Monday’s resumption of flying operations for combat air forces units across the Air Force affects 16 fighter, bomber, and E-3 AWACS squadrons or portions of squadrons that will begin to return to full combat-mission-ready status, Air Combat Command spokesman Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis told the Daily Report. The length of time required to achieve that status is roughly estimated to be equal to the time these units have not been flying, he said on July 15. The return to flight also impacts three aggressor squadrons that will resume their support of air combat training and operational testing, and Active Duty pilots assigned to four active associate Air National Guard units who will resume their training, he said. Flights conducted for the operational test and evaluation of aircraft modernization programs will also begin again, said Sholtis. And, instructors at the Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nev., will pick up again the training required to maintain their currency in advanced tactics, he said. Also, the Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team will return to training flights in anticipation that the team may be able to resume “a limited number” of aerial demonstrations in 2014, he said. Despite the return to flying operations, there will be no resumption of previously cancelled major exercises such as Red Flag, noted Sholtis.