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33rd FW completes record number of sorties with F-35A

A 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief prepares an F-35A for take off Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The F-35A is the latest deployable fifth generation aircraft capable of providing air superiority, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses and close air support as well as great command and control functions through fused sensors, and will provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness of the battle space. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

A 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief prepares an F-35A for take off Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The F-35A is the latest deployable fifth generation aircraft capable of providing air superiority, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses and close air support as well as great command and control functions through fused sensors, and will provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness of the battle space. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

Airmen from the 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit ready an F-35A for takeoff during a sortie surge Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The 33rd Fighter Wing completed 111 sorties during a three-day surge to exercise the readiness of pilots, maintainers and aircraft to meet the needs of high-tempo operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

Airmen from the 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit ready an F-35A for takeoff during a sortie surge Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The 33rd Fighter Wing completed 111 sorties during a three-day surge to exercise the readiness of pilots, maintainers and aircraft to meet the needs of high-tempo operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

An F-35A taxis down the flightline Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The F-35A is the latest deployable fifth generation aircraft capable of providing air superiority, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses and close air support as well as high-fidelity command and control functions through fused sensors, and provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness of the battlespace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

An F-35A taxis down the flightline Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The F-35A is the latest deployable fifth generation aircraft capable of providing air superiority, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses and close air support as well as high-fidelity command and control functions through fused sensors, and provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness of the battlespace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

An F-35A takes off from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Aug. 2, 2016. The F-35A is the latest deployable fifth generation aircraft capable of providing air superiority, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses and close air support as well as high-fidelity command and control functions through fused sensors, and provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness of the battlespace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

An F-35A takes off from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Aug. 2, 2016. The F-35A is the latest deployable fifth generation aircraft capable of providing air superiority, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses and close air support as well as high-fidelity command and control functions through fused sensors, and provide pilots with unprecedented situational awareness of the battlespace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

(Right) Airman 1st Class Lonnie Prater, 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant dedicated crew chief, speaks to (Left) Lt. Col. Brian O’Grady, 58th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations, prior to take off during a sortie surge Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The 33rd Fighter Wing completed 111 sorties during a three-day surge to exercise the readiness of pilots, maintainers and aircraft to meet the needs of high-tempo operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

(Right) Airman 1st Class Lonnie Prater, 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant dedicated crew chief, speaks to (Left) Lt. Col. Brian O’Grady, 58th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations, prior to take off during a sortie surge Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The 33rd Fighter Wing completed 111 sorties during a three-day surge to exercise the readiness of pilots, maintainers and aircraft to meet the needs of high-tempo operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

Airmen from the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit install a lower wing pylon cover panel on an F-35A Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force, Fla. During the Aug. 1-3 sortie surge 58th AMU Airmen kept up with the high-tempo demand to provide safe and reliable aircraft for 111 sorties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

Airmen from the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit install a lower wing pylon cover panel on an F-35A Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force, Fla. During the Aug. 1-3 sortie surge 58th AMU Airmen kept up with the high-tempo demand to provide safe and reliable aircraft for 111 sorties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

33rd Maintenance Support Squadron Airmen hot pit refuel F-35As during a sortie surge Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Hot pit refueling allows aircraft to quickly relaunch after completing a sortie by refueling aircraft while their engine is still running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

33rd Maintenance Support Squadron Airmen hot pit refuel F-35As during a sortie surge Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Hot pit refueling allows aircraft to quickly relaunch after completing a sortie by refueling aircraft while their engine is still running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

Staff Sgt. Joshua Davlin, 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, services an F-35A wheel Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. During the Aug. 1-3 sortie surge 58th AMU Airmen kept up with the high-tempo demand to provide safe and reliable aircraft for 111 sorties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

Staff Sgt. Joshua Davlin, 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, services an F-35A wheel Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. During the Aug. 1-3 sortie surge 58th AMU Airmen kept up with the high-tempo demand to provide safe and reliable aircraft for 111 sorties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

Airman Travis Boyle, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, services an F-35A wheel Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. During the Aug. 1-3 sortie surge 58th AMU Airmen kept up with the high-tempo demand to provide safe and reliable aircraft for 111 sorties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

Airman Travis Boyle, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, services an F-35A wheel Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. During the Aug. 1-3 sortie surge 58th AMU Airmen kept up with the high-tempo demand to provide safe and reliable aircraft for 111 sorties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

(Right) Senior Airman Max Todd, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief prepares to climb into an F-35A engine air intake to perform an engine inspection Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. During the Aug. 1-3 sortie surge 58th AMU Airmen kept up with the high-tempo demand to provide safe and reliable aircraft for 111 sorties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)
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(Right) Senior Airman Max Todd, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief prepares to climb into an F-35A engine air intake to perform an engine inspection Aug. 2, 2016, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. During the Aug. 1-3 sortie surge 58th AMU Airmen kept up with the high-tempo demand to provide safe and reliable aircraft for 111 sorties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Members of the 33rd Fighter Wing set a new record of 111 sorties over three days during a sortie surge Aug. 1-3 here.

The purpose of a sortie surge is to test the readiness of maintainers, pilots and aircraft to meet the needs of high-tempo operations.

“Thanks to the Nomads for their tremendous work this week,” Col. Lance Pilch, 33rd FW commander said. “This surge not only provided numerous training flights in a short amount of time but also exercised rapid sortie generation, which is critical in certain combat scenarios.”

To complete the surge maintainers from the 33rd Maintenance Squadron and 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit worked extra hours in the Florida heat and rain to make sure safe and reliable jets were ready for 33rd FW pilots to complete their mission.

“For this particular event we expanded our shifts to 12 hours in an effort to put maximum coverage on each shift,” Master Sgt. Christopher Bennett, 58th AMU lead production superintendent said. “During a surge you are going to put the throttle down and people are going to put in more hours and they are going to work harder. The end result is that you produce a massive number of sorties at the end of the day.

“What we have learned from this week is that the maintainers and pilots stepped up and they were ready.”

The surge took place the same week that the F-35A was declared ready for combat by Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, Aug. 2.

“How the aircraft responds to an increased tempo will really give you a feel for where the jet is as far as readiness,” Bennet said. “What we are doing today and the success we have had over the past three days solidifies the (initial operating capability) announcement.”

The 33rd FW has supported the training of more than 3,000 F-35 maintainers, trained more than 250 pilots, flown more than 11,300 hours and completed more than 7,600 sorties that have contributed to the F-35A moving to IOC.

“As current threats evolve and new threats emerge, this aircraft will become more and more important to our national security,” Pilch said. “(33rd FW members) played a vital role in getting us to IOC, and will continue to play a vital role as we move forward.”

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