Col. David Silva
- Commander, Detachment 1, HQ FLANG
Year in Review - 2016
The mission of Headquarters, Florida Air National Guard (HQ FLANG), Det-1 is to provide highly experienced F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II instructor pilots to support the 325th and 33rd Fighter Wings’ missions. The primary mission of both wings is to train the next generation of fighter pilots for the Combat Air Forces. This mission is executed hand-in-hand with both the active duty and Air Force Reserve components, making HQ FLANG Det-1 the only true Total Force organization in the fighter community.
During the past year, Det-1 F-22 instructor pilots were instrumental in the total transformation of the formal training syllabus. The innovative thinking of FLANG pilots created a revolutionary new training concept which resulted in an 18 percent decrease in sortie requirements and a 36 percent increase in student production, far exceeding the Air Forcemandated seven percent increase.
The new training flow increased both student and instructor continuity and has become the benchmark for all Formal Training Units in the Air Force. Additionally, FLANG Raptor pilots have been leading the effort to integrate the latest generation of short- and medium-range air-to-air missiles onto the F-22 as part of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group. By integrating the hardware, software, tactics, techniques and procedures necessary to effectively employ the weapons, Det-1 pilots are ensuring air dominance for decades to come.
The F-35 program at Eglin Air Force Base and the associated Det-1 pilots played a key role in the F-35 declaration of Initial Operational Capability (IOC) on Aug. 2, 2016. The IOC declaration culminated a fiveyear road from initial delivery of bare-bones aircraft to a fully combat-capable weapons system. FLANG pilots have been with the program since the inception and have played a critical role in providing the much needed continuity and experience required to stand up this new 5th generation weapons system.
Venturing well outside the traditional Formal Training Unit role, Det-1 pilots have participated in numerous deployments, been involved in Operational Test and Evaluation and have provided key integration with Developmental Test and Evaluation at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Additionally, Det-1 led the development of the first, and only, Joint Tactics, Techniques and Procedures manual bridging the traditional gap between Air Force, Navy and Marine tactical aviation, thus maximizing the utility and interchangeability of the F-35A, B and C models for combatant commanders and their planning staffs.