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33rd Fighter Wing gains F-35 training mission

WASHINGTON -- WASHINGTON - Air Force officials announced plans to assign the mission of training new Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and allied F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter pilots and maintainers to the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla.

Final planning for the move is dependent on the results of the ongoing environmental impact analysis process that is required by the National Environmental Policy Act and designed to identify and assess potential environmental impacts of the proposed action.

The first of the F-35s, a family of next generation, stealthy, multi-role fighter aircraft, should begin arriving at Eglin by 2010. The wing will include Sailors, Marines, Airmen and allied military personnel and all three versions of the new fighter - conventional take off and landing, short take off and vertical landing, and carrier variants. The Lightning II's advanced airframe, avionics, propulsion systems, stealth and firepower will make it an affordable, lethal, supportable and survivable aircraft for warfighters around the globe.

The 33rd Fighter Wing's F-15 Eagles will be redistributed throughout the Air Force to active duty and Air National Guard units, replacing older F-15s in the inventory. The final F-15 is slated for reassignment in the summer of FY10. The wing also will transfer from Air Combat Command to Air Education and Training Command when it assumes the F-35 training mission.

In the next few years, AETC will stand up a new wing structure for the F-35 training mission with approximately 2,200 people. It is unknown at this time how many people will transfer from one mission to another.

The 33rd Fighter Wing, whose mission is to "maintain the world's best rapidly deployable air control and air superiority forces for theater combatant commanders," is a combat-flying unit assigned under ACC's 9th Air Force and is a major tenant unit on Eglin AFB.

The wing operates two flying squadrons, the 58th and 60th, along with the 33rd Operations Support Squadron, the 33rd Maintenance Operations Squadron, the 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the 33rd Maintenance Squadron, and the 728th Air Control Squadron.
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