Preparing for Deployment in Alaska and the Testing the Norwegian Drag Chute


10/17/2017: A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft lands on the flight line Oct. 12, 2017, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

The F-35 is here to conduct cold weather testing to ensure the fifth generation multi-role fighter aircraft performs optimally in Alaska’s harsh weather conditions.

And this is about testing the Norwegian modified F-35 as well.

According to a KFQD News item published on October 2017:

An F-35 fighter jet landed at Eielson Air Force Base to undergo testing on the aircraft’s ability to land in cold conditions.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the F-35A Lightning II that arrived on Thursday was the first to land at the base near Fairbanks.

54 of these aircraft will be based at Eielson along with about 3,500 airmen, civilian employees, contractors, and military family members by 2020.

The aircraft will undergo testing on its ability to land on icy runways, and its drag-chute modification will also be evaluated.

The drag chute is a modification that has been requested by an F-35 program partner, the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

A Norwegian test pilot will demonstrate the modification that aims to help the fighter jet land in Arctic conditions.

And Eielson Air Force base has been selected as the first operational USAF base to receive F-35s.

In an April 4, 2016 Air Force news note, Eielson was highlighted as the first operational base to receive the aircraft.

Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, was selected as the new home for the Air Force’s first operational overseas F-35A Lightning IIs.

Air Force officials chose Eielson AFB after a lengthy analysis of the location’s operational considerations, installation attributes, environmental factors and cost.

“Alaska combines a strategically important location with a world-class training environment.

“Basing the F-35s at Eielson AFB will allow the Air Force the capability of using the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC) for large force exercises using a multitude of ranges and maneuver areas in Alaska,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James.

“This, combined with the largest airspace in the Air Force, ensures realistic combat training for the (Defense Department).”

Proximity to the JPARC will enable the Air Force to take advantage of approximately 65,000 square miles of available airspace for realistic, world-class training in the Air Force’s most advanced fifth-generation fighter.

The decision culminates a three-year process that included an extensive environmental impact statement that examined impacts on such factors as air quality, noise, land use and socioeconomics.

“The decision to base two F-35 squadrons at Eielson AFB, Alaska, combined with the existing F-22 Raptors at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, will double our fifth-generation fighter aircraft presence in the Pacific theater,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III.

“Integrating that fifth-generation force with Navy, Marine, and allied F-35 forces will provide joint and coalition warfighters unprecedented survivability, lethality and battlespace awareness in contested environments. It’s an exciting time for Pacific airpower.”

Notably, the testing is about the coming of the F-35 to Norway, which will begin next month.

This November, Norway will receive its first three F-35 combat aircraft.

The arrival will be marked with a ceremony on the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s 73rd anniversary on 10 November 2017.

The ceremony will take place at Ørland Air Station in central Norway from 13:30 to 15:15.



Video by Senior Airman Joshua Weaver

354th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs