48th Fighter Wing [48th FW]
As the U.S. Air Forces in Europe's only F-15 fighter wing, the 48th Fighter Wing brings unique air combat capabilities to the fight, such as the most advanced precision guided munitions (GBU-15 and AGM-130), the Rapid Targeting System for near real time, airborne re-targeting and the APG-70 radar, the world's most advanced in range, tracking, ECCM and ID capability. We provide all-weather, day or night air superiority and air-to-ground precision combat capability and multi-staged improvement program avionics. The 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England, is the first and only United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) unit to receive the F-15E Strike Eagle. Both the 492nd Fighter Squadron and the 494th Fighter Squadron operate the F-15E. The F-15E Strike Eagle is the world's most capable air-to-ground, precision strike fighter, employing PGMs using Low Altitude Night Targeting and Infrared Navigation (LANTIRN) system technology. The F-15C Eagle is the world's premier air-to-air superiority fighter, capable of eliminating enemy air threats anywhere, anytime. When teamed together, the F-15E and F-15C provide an air combat capability never before seen in the history of airpower.
Historically, the 48th Fighter Wing has been the foundation of USAFE's combat capability and remains so today. The Liberty Wing led the El Dorado Canyon raids into Libya in 1986 and was the first F-111 fighter unit to deploy to the Gulf during Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. We flew in the nation's two most recent combat contingencies: Operation NORTHERN WATCH and Operation DELIBERATE FORCE. NATO and U.S. leaders have asserted that if America is needed in this region, the 48th Fighter Wing will be called out first.
The Liberty Wing has been active in support of Operations Provide Promise and Deny Flight in war torn Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia, providing not only active air support, but mobilization of medical personnel and facilities to take care of UN personnel and civilian war injured. Both of these missions are continuous. Personnel of various specialties have deployed in support roles including chaplains, fire fighters, administrative and personnel technicians, fuels, transportation, supply, intelligence, graphic arts, photographic, and a host of others. Depending on mission needs, these personnel have found themselves deployed upwards to six months, often under stressful combat conditions.
In May 1940, the US Army Air Corps formulated plans to meet President Franklin Roosevelt's call for increased aircraft production. As part of the War department's 84 Group Plan, the Air Corps activated the 48th Bombardment Group (Light) on 15 January 1941. Primarily a replacement training unit, the 48th participated in experimental joint Army-Air Corps maneuvers to evaluate close air support and air-to-ground tactics.
Restless to enter the war in Europe, the 48th received its wishes in February 1944 when the War Department ordered the 48th to England as part of the buildup for the eventual invasion of fortress Europe. By 15 March, the bulk of the 48th was aboard ship headed for a small southwestern airfield in the English country side named Ibsley. As part of the 9th Tactical Air Command, the 48th was tasked to attack anti-aircraft and coastal artillery batteries under construction. By 5 June, the Group accounted for more than 1600 combat sorties, dropping 200 tons of bombs on enemy fortifications. Pilots flew another 1900 sorties between 6-30 June to support the D-Day landings. The Group's greatest World War Two legacy lies not with its fighter kills, but its close air support mission. Operating from former Luftwaffe airfields in France, the Group supported the allied breakthrough at St Lo in JulY. The drive across France in August, provided air cover during the airborne attack on Holland in September. In October they made low level attacks at Aachen to stem a German counterattack, and from 18 December through 17 January, supported ground operations during the Battle of the Bulge. The Group was inactivated at Seymour Johnson Field in North Carolina on 7 November 1945.
Due to the mounting concern of communist aggression in Korea and Europe in the early 1950s, the Air Force restructured its combat units into Wings. As such, the 48th Fighter-Bomber Wing was born on 10 July 1952. The 48th was then moved to Chaumont Air Base in France. On July 4, 1954, the Wing received its designation as "the Statue of Liberty" Wing, making it the only Air Force unit to have both a numerical and descriptive designation.
In 1954, the wing exchanged its F-84Cs for newer F-86F "Sabers." The 48th also received its name, the Liberty Wing, July 4, 1954. It was bestowed upon the wing by the French people because of the area's long association with Americans. The mayor and citizens of Chaumont were so fond of the wing that they gave the wing the unofficial name of the Statue de la Liberte wing because Bartholdi, original designer of the statue in New York Harbor, had his workshops only a few miles from the air base. In the spring of 1956 a bronze three-meter statue was created from the original Statue of Liberty molds. On the operations side, crews diligently trained for their NATO strike missions, often deploying to Morocco for bombing and gunnery training. But transition was not far off for the 48th.
The wing received word in late 1955 that the Air Force would exchange the 48th's Sabers for a newer aircraft: the F-100D "Super Saber." The larger-bodied F-100 was capable of carrying more ordnance than the F-86 and was one of the first fighters designed to operate at supersonic speeds. The wing began realigning its units March 15, 1957, as part of an Air Force worldwide reorganization. Combat groups were inactivated, assigning the unit's fighter mission to the wing. The same process was applied to the 48th Maintenance and Supply group. Its supply and transportation elements were attached to the 48th Air Base Group while the newly activated 48th Field Maintenance Squadron assumed maintenance responsibilities. As part of yet another organization change, the 48th dropped the "Fighter Bomber" designation July 8,1958, becoming the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing - a designation that would last more than 30 years. The three flying units also changed designation, becoming tactical fighter squadrons.
A change in residence, however, loomed on the horizon for the 48th. Disagreements arose concerning atomic storage and custody issues within NATO, resulting in a decision to remove Air Force atomic-capable units from French soil. Simultaneously, the advent of the inter-continental ballistic missile had reduced the United States' dependence on European-based airborne medium-and long ranged bombers.
One of the bases vacated by rotating Strategic Air Command units was a former World War II airfield, nestled away in the East Anglian countryside called Royal Air Force Lakenheath. In the early morning hours of Jan. 15, 1960, the wing's three fighter squadrons lifted off Chaumont's runway and, after making farewell passes over the outlying village, headed toward the English Channel.
When the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing's first F-100D touched down on RAF Lakenheath's runway January 15, 1960, the landing symbolized a return for the Liberty Wing. Almost 16 years had passed since the 48th Fighter Group's arrival at Ibsley, England, for the D-Day invasion.
As Strategic Air Command elements began their departure, the 3910th Air Base Group began its transition of handing RAF Lakenheath's facilities and real estate over to the 48th's support elements. While SAC had upgraded numerous World War II-era facilities and lengthened the runway, the wing initiated an ambitious, multimillion dollar construction project to facilitate its three fighter squadrons and support elements. Further, housing plans were begun to ease the strain on local communities dealing with 2,000 additional military people and their families.
Upon their arrival, Liberty Wing pilots began an intense training schedule to meet the wing's NATO strike commitment. Support personnel also became inundated with the tasks of getting the 48th's fleet of 60 F-100Ds fully operational. With the Cold War heating up, the wing's regeneration efforts paid off in many ways.
East Germany's decision to build the Berlin Wall and the Missile Crisis in Cuba increased Cold War tensions to an all-time high, as wing F-100s augmented National Guard aircraft in Germany for rotational alert duties under Operation Stair Step. RAF Lakenheath also served as a rotational base for Strategic Air Command B-47 and B-52 aircraft throughout the Berlin Crisis. This requirement ended in mid-1963 during an Air Force-wide reorganization.
In 1962, the Air Force approved the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing's emblem, thereby officially making the wing one of the only units with a numerical and lettered designation. At about the same time, the Liberty Wing came under the operational command of 3rd Air Force.
Between 1963 - 1972, the wing's F-100 fleet maintained its readiness by participating in a number of USAFE and NATO exercises. Operation Round Robin found Liberty Wing pilots deployed to other NATO bases to evaluate aircraft cross-servicing procedures and combined air tactics. Crews also flew ROULETTE missions to evaluate 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force intercept capabilities. Periodic MAX EFFORT exercises, similar to today's sorties surges, were conducted in conjunction with other tactical fighter units to test air-to-air intercept and coordinated close air support training, Wing pilots also found themselves in Turkey, Libya, Norway and locations in between during combined NATO deployments such as POLAR EXPRESS, BARKING PUP, QUICK TRAIN, and DERBY TIME.
The period between 1972 and 1977 can be described as a five-year aircraft conversion. In late 1971, the Air Force announced plans to exchange each fighter squadron's F-100Ds for F-4Ds. The Liberty Wing's first F-4D arrived January 7, 1972, assigned to the 492nd Tactical Fighter Squadron. The last F-100D left Lakenheath's runway April 15, 1972, completing the first of two aircraft conversions.
By December 1973, the wing only possessed 26 F-4 aircraft. External demands for the Phantom, which included foreign military sales, precluded fighter arrivals. It took until March 1975 for the last of the three fighter squadrons, the 494th, to achieve initial operational capability with the new weapon system.
No sooner had Liberty Wing crews become familiar with their new Phantoms when the Air Force again announced that Lakenheath would be the new beddown location for the F-111F, Aardvark. The F-111F, with its sophisticated avionics, state-of-the-art weapons delivery mediums, and extended range, would provide USAFE and NATO with an unparalleled strike capability anywhere within NATO's scope of operations.
The transition was part of a three-way aircraft transfer. The wing received its complement of F-111Fs from the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, transferred its F-111As to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, while Nellis received the wing's complement of F-4Ds. The first three F-111Fs set down at Lakenheath March 1, 1977.
In preparation for the new weapon system and its unique training requirements, USAFE activated the 495th Tactical Fighter Squadron April 1, 1977. This was 33 years to the day since the squadron's inactivation. The 495th's mission of functioning as a replacement training unit for the other three fighter squadrons made the wing unique in two ways. First, it made the 48th the only combat unit in USAFE with four squadrons. Furthermore, it made the 48th the only wing operating with its own replacement training unit. The 495th ended its mission December 13, 1991 when the wing reorganized under the objective wing program and began its transition to the newer F-15E "Strike Eagle."
The switch that brought the F-111s to RAF Lakenheath went so smoothly that the wing received its third Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. With little time to bask in it achievements, the wing increased its training tempo to meet aircrew training and NATO readiness requirements. Air and ground crews deployed to Italy, Turkey, Iran, Greece and Pakistan, which offered flying opportunities and air-to-ground ranges. At home, monthly exercises honed combat skills to a fine edge. By September 1979, the wing had flown the highest number of hours ever recorded in a fiscal year by an F-111 unit. This dedication culminated in the 48th's performance during a joint USAFE Operational Readiness Inspection and NATO Tactical Evaluation in March 1980. As a result, the Secretary of the Air Force selected the 48th TFW for its fourth Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
By 1986 terrorist incidents such as the bombing of US Marines in Beruit (1983), TWA highjacking (1985), the ship Achille Lauro hijack (1985), had brought about an overwhelming public outcry for action. Through intelligence means, the US Government had linked the government of Col Mohmar Qaddafi in Libya with many of the aforementioned attacks. President Reagan ordered a combined attack on Tripoli. Two aircraft carriers of the Sixth Fleet and the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing were selected to conduct the strike. The Liberty Wing's F-111Fs were chosen for their capability to fly long distances and deliver laser-guided munitions with great accuracy.
At approximately 1900 the evening of 14 April, 24 F-111Fs departed Lakenheath's runway, six of which were airborne spares in the event malfunctions forced any of the primary aircraft to abort. In flights of four, aircrews flew south through theStraits of Gibraltar and began their orchestrated attack shortly after midnight on 15 April. They were targeted on Azziziyah Barracks, the Sidi Balal terrorist training camp, and Tripoli Airport. With the sky lit up from Tripoli's city lights, anti-aircraft tracers, and brilliant surface to air missile detonations, determined Liberty Wing crews unleashed 60 tons of munitions, damaging their targets. In spite of the mission's success, the Wing experienced a major loss. As the strike force recovered at Lakenheath, both air and ground crews were given the somber news that Major Fernando Ribas, pilot, and Weapons Security Operator Captain Paul Lorence, were missing.
It bears mention that the 14-15 April raid was the first time in 41 years the 48th had engaged a hostile force since 8 May 1945. It was and still stands as history's longest fighter combat mission. On 8 September 1986, US Navy Secretary John Lehman personally presented the Navy's Meritorious Unit Commendation to the Liberty Wing for its participation in the operation. The Liberty Wing is still the only Air Force unit to have received this prestigious award.
After several threats, Iraq invaded Kuwait August 2, 1990. That day, the 48th TFW began organizing for possible shipment to Saudi Arabia and other locations identified by the U.S. Central Command under the direction of Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf. By Sept. 18, planning included at least a package of 24 F-111s. Before the coalition launched the air war against Saddam Hussein's military forces in Kuwait, the Liberty Wing had more than 60 aircraft and 1,500 personnel deployed to Taif, Saudi Arabia. The 48th supplied 66 F-111Fs, which were in place by December 1990. In response to lraq's sudden aggression, President Bush replied, "Iraq has thrown down the gauntlet and we have picked it up. There is no compromise."
During the air war Jan. 17 through February 24, 1991, and subsequent four-day ground war of February 24 - 28, Liberty Wing F-111Fs flew thousands of sorties, unleashing their lethality of precision-guided munitions on Iraqi armor, artillery, bridges, military airfields and command and control centers. 48th aircrews even stopped the flow of oil contaminating the Persian Gulf by bombing a pumping installation purposefully damaged by retreating Iraqi forces. Throughout the offensive, wing aircrews participated in a number of campaigns including bridge busting, airfield destruction and tank killing. A number of unique missions were flown, including "Save the Ducks" which entailed using GBU-15 infrared television munitions to destroy the burning Kuwait oilfield pumping mechanism and contain the ecological disaster which was taking place and on 26 February when two F-111Fs dropped two strange looking GBU-28 4500 pound bombs on the Taji command and control bunker outside of Baghdad, severely disrupting Iraq's military machine. Overall, the Liberty Wing flew a total of 1919 combat sorties, totaling 2203 target hits. All the wing's personnel returned to RAF Lakenheath by 13 May 1991, ending for many what proved to be a 10-month ordeal. But, as was commonplace in the 48th's history, many returned to find the wing in yet another transition. In mid-1991, the wing begun restructuring under the objective wing program, realigning its maintenance-fighter squadron work force and establishing several command positions to include the logistics group, operations group, medical group and support group commanders. The program also redesignated the majority of the Air Force's tactical units.
Since 13 September 1991, the Liberty Wing has been called on to augment the Operation Provide Comfort air component at Incirlik, Turkey. This ongoing mission is to enforce a no-fly zone in Northern Iraq, protecting Iraq's Kurdish population.
The 48th Tactical Fighter Wing became the 48th Fighter Wing October 1, 1991, drawing upon the heritage of the wing's predecessor, the 48th Fighter Group. Aircraft transfers also began as the first F15E "Strike Eagle" arrived February 15, 1992. By December 1992, all the wing's F-111Fs departed for units within the United States, signifying yet another historic precedent for the Liberty Wing.
No sooner had the F-15Es arrived at Lakenheath than the 48th received word that it would be receiving additional aircraft. But, unlike the wing's previous 50 years of air-to-ground operational history, this time the mission would be air superiority. Beginning in November 1993, F-15Cs began touching down at RAF Lakenheath with the familiar gold and black tails of the 493rd Fighter Squadron which subsequently activated on January 1, 1994 to facilitate the new mission. Not only did this set a historical precedent in the 48th's 50-plus year history, the 493rd's new mission set further records when the 48th became the largest F-15E/F-15C composite unit in the U.S. Air Force. No sooner had the 493rd Fighter Squadron's state of the art F-15Cs touched down on Lakenheath when they were called to support the no-fly zones above Iraq and later Bosnia as part of Operations PROVIDE COMFORT and DELIBERATE GUARD, operations which the squadron continues to support.
During 1995, 492nd, 493rd and 494th FS aircrews and support people deployed 330 days to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and Aviano Air Base, Italy, to support Operations Provide Comfort and Deny Flight. They amassed 1,384 hours in 576 sorties at Aviano and 7,245 hours in 2,718 sorties at Incirlik with only one Class B mishap: an unavoidable bird strike.
For Operation Deliberate Force, the 48th FW, along with other coalition forces, was charged with four objectives: Ensuring the Bosnian Serbs stopped shelling Sarajevo and other safe areas; Forcing the withdrawal of Bosnian Serb heavy weapons from an exclusion zone around Sarajevo; Giving U.N. forces and other non-government officials complete freedom of movement; and allowing unrestricted use of the Sarajevo airport. The NATO operation began Aug. 30, 1996, two days after a horrifying mortar shell attack killed 37 people shopping in a jammed Sarajevo marketplace. After NATO commanders confirmed Bosnia Serbia was behind the shelling, the alliance unleashed a multinational team of fighters on that country's air defense missile sites, radar sites and communication facilities. Participating in the precision air strikes was the 48th Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath, England. After nearly one month of precision bombings, coalition forces met the objectives as shell-shocked Bosnian Serbs discovered any differences were best settled at the negotiating table rather than on the battlefield. That forced cease-fire came from accords hammered out at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in September 1995. But before the warring factions - specifically Bosnian Serbs - laid down their arms, it took a convincing one-month show of airpower called Operation Deliberate Force to jump-start the peace process.
Even though the Liberty Wing's excellent record and string of historical precedents set it in the forefront of Air Force history, the wing made world history between October 1998-June 1999 when it was called to simultaneously support two separate air operations from three separate geographic locations. The wing deployed 12 F-15Cs to Cervia Air Base, Italy, in October 1998, while F-15Es deployed to Turkey in December and began dropping precision-guided munitions on Iraqi surface-to-air threats. Meanwhile, additional F-15Es deployed to Italy over Serbian intransigence regarding atrocities against Kosovar Albanians by Serbian military units. In the meantime, F-15Cs deployed to Turkey to fulfill the air superiority mission above Iraq followed by an additional 12 F-15Cs deployed to Italy for Operation ALLIED FORCE. In a truly astounding feat of military logistics, airmanship and maintenance by ground crews, the wing engaged hostile forces in both Iraq and Serbia from two locations in Italy and Turkey and later the United Kingdom. What made the feat even more astounding was that the wing flew over 1,000 combat missions without losing one aircraft or aircrew-another precedent in the wing's long history.
In February-March 1999 the 48th Fighter Wing deployed more than 40 aircraft and 500 people to Aviano Air Base and Cervia Air Base in Italy in support of possible air combat operations over the former Republic of Yugoslavia. On 24 March 1999 NATO's air campaign against Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic begins. Liberty Wing F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Aviano AB, Italy, and 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagles at Cervia AB, Italy, begin conducting combat missions over the former Yugoslavia. The Liberty Wing members accomplished several firsts. The first time a wing conducted combat operations simultaneously from three locations (home, Aviano and Cervia). The first combat use ever of AGM-130 (first used by the wing in Operation Northern Watch and then multiple uses in Operation Allied Force), and first use of the GBU-28, 5,000 pound "bunker-buster" bomb (both munitions can only be employed by the F-15E). Also, the wing's F-15C's scored the first shootdown of the operation, for a total of four MiG kills. On 24 March 1999 Liberty Wing pilots assigned to the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed to Cervia AB, Italy, shot down two Serbian MiG-29 aircraft during the first day of NATO's air campaign, Operation ALLIED FORCE. The 'Grim Reapers' (the nickname of the 493rd FS) shot down two more Serbian MiGs in air-to-air combat later in March, giving them the most air-to-air 'kills' of the NATO air campaign.
In April 1999 Liberty Wing F-15E Strike Eagles employ the first GBU-28 'Bunker Buster' bomb used during Operation ALLIED FORCE, the combat air campaign over the former Yugoslavia. Liberty Wing aircrews were also the first to employ this formidable munition over Iraq during Operation DESERT STORM. During May and June 1999, for the first time since the El Dorado Canyon raids over Libya, combat operations are conducted directly from RAF Lakenheath. F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 492nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron strike targets in Yugoslavia and join other NATO air forces in conducting the air campaign against Serbia. This marked the second time in four months that the Liberty Wing found itself conducting combat operations simultaneously from three different locations: RAF Lakenheath, England; Aviano Air Base, Italy; and Cervia Air Base, Italy.
Amid a festive atmosphere on the flightline here of people cheering and waving miniature American flags, balloons swaying and patriotic music blaring, the Liberty Wing celebrated a homecoming in late June 1999. Family and friends joined co-workers, supervisors, first sergeants and other senior base leaders in welcoming home members of the 48th Fighter Wing who were deployed to Aviano and Cervia air bases in Italy, and to Turkey in support of Operation Allied Force. With the decision to start redeploying U.S. forces, about 500 people and 44 F-15 aircraft arrived June 24 to 27, and included about 60 members of the 48th Medical Group who were deployed to Turkey. Most of the wing's deployed population returned home during the following two weeks, which made this the first time since November 1998 that almost everyone will be home.
In mid-1991 the Air Force converted its fighter wings to the objective wing organization. In 1992, the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing reorganized to become the 48th Fighter Wing with a logistics group, operations group, medical group and support group. One of the biggest changes was the activation of the 48th Operations Support Squadron under the operations group in March 1992.
Assuming many diverse wing functions, the 48th OSS has six unique flights:
The Airfield operations Flight controls all aircraft that enter the Lakenheath and Mildenhall Military Air Traffic Zone. Radar Approach Control is responsible for all aircraft movement on and around RAF Lakenheath. They also provide radar service to many civilian aircraft that fly in East Anglia. RAPCON's job is to make sure all these aircraft, military and civilian, are deconflicted from one another while flying in the local area. Control tower personnel monitor and control all aircraft movement on the base and all airborne aircraft in the visual traffic pattern. The base operations section conducts daily inspections and maintains the entire airfield infrastructure to ensure a safe flying operation. Airfield operations flight controlled the takeoffs and departures of 1,139 tanker and 119 fighter combat missions from RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall during Operation Allied Force. During normal peacetime training operations, they control more than 68,000 takeoffs, departures and recoveries per year. With manning as low as 62 percent at times, airfield operations' "can-do" attitude exemplifies the professionalism of the 48th OSS.
The Weather Flight is entirely focused on providing accurate weather products that allow Liberty Wing Warriors to deliver bombs on target and kill MiGs. As recently as 1999, the combat weather team was the winner of the Williams Award. This prestigious award goes to the most outstanding Air Force weather flight performing aerospace weather operations.
The Maintenance Management flight is like your mother who tells you to eat your vegetables and exercise more. They are responsible for the long-term health of wing aircraft and they administer the maintenance side of the wing flying hour program. This flight adapted new measures to streamline parts supply to "phase" inspections. This produced a completed phase every other day during Operation Allied Force - a remarkable record. Also, this flight is recognized in USAFE as the current expert in reliability and maintainability information system applications and reports. These accomplishments, along with many others, led the aircraft maintenance consulting action team to recognize the flight as "the best analysis flight within USAFE."
The Intelligence Flight uses state-of-the-art technology to give commanders and combat crews the most up-to-date and accurate enemy order of battle. Tailoring their products to three fighter squadrons for any worldwide area of responsibility is no easy undertaking. The flight proved they were up to the task when they supported simultaneous operations by 48th FW aircraft and crews during Operations Allied Force and Northern Watch from four different locations. They provided timely and critical intelligence for combat operations flown from Aviano Air Base and Cervia Air Base, Italy, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and RAF Lakenheath.
The Standardization Flight standardizes how Liberty Wing warriors prosecute the war. Through published employment standards and quarterly wing Top Gun competitions, weapons and tactics ensures that the tip of the 48th FW's fighting sword is razor sharp. One of the most important programs the flight oversees is strike aircrew certification. After a grueling week of intensive study (with no flying), crews are grilled by a panel of experts to determine if they properly can execute this demanding mission.
The Current Operations flight is as diverse as the 48th OSS itself. Current ops is composed of flight records, wing life support, wing scheduling, wing training and aircrew training devices. These varied functions publish the daily flying schedule, monitor the status of aircrew training, document aircrew flight status and provide training and equipment to aircrew so they can survive the threat in any environment should they ever have to eject from their aircraft.
In addition to these six flights there are four organizations that are administratively attached to the squadron. These professionals report directly to the operations group commander on their functional area but are part of the 48th OSS family in all other areas. Standardization and evaluation publishes the flying standards all aircrew follow and ensures all flyers in the wing meet demanding criteria through a formal checkride every 18 months. Quality assurance performs the same function as standardization and evaluation but for all the maintainers in the wing. They also manage the functional check flight program in the wing that scrutinizes the work performed on an aircraft that has undergone major maintenance. Weapons standardization ensures that all weapons loaders in the wing meet a demanding level of performance. The advanced programs office is responsible for future hardware and software upgrades to wing F-15s.
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