First Air National Guard Airman Graduates F-35 Intel School
As the F-35A Lightning II prepares to fly north in 2020, the Vermont Air
National Guard sent an Airman here to become the first National
Guardsman to graduate from the Joint Strike Fighter program’s
Intelligence Formal Training Unit.
Capt. Christopher Clements, 158th Operations Support Squadron
intelligence officer, graduated Feb. 11, 2016, with seven other Airmen
and U.S. Marines qualified in F-35-specific intelligence.
“[The course] was fantastic,” Clements said. “There were a lot of points for discussion for how they’re all going to work together to support the platform in the future.”
The mission of the 33rd Fighter Wing is to train outstanding professionals with a vision to take the F-35A to initial operations capability and beyond. To date, 62 students have graduated from the IFTU, and the school will expand to train an additional 10 students per class from all three military branches, to include the ANG and reserves.
During this five week course, students spend eight hours a day studying intelligence theory, systems and sensors, air to air combat, air to ground combat and mission planning and application specific to the Lightning II.
“The F-35 is an information hungry aircraft,” said Capt. Stephanie Fraioli, 33rd Operations Support Squadron intelligence instructor. “The information burden fifth generation technology places on pilots is significantly larger; therefore, the impetus is on F-35 intelligence support personnel to ensure flyers are prepared.”