F-35A ammunition loader field test

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The 388th Fighter Wing, the Air Force’s first F-35 operational wing, recently received five F-35A bulk ammunition loaders for field use.

Airmen extensively tested one of the loaders June 6-9 during an engineering validation and verification evaluation here.

The mobile loader lets weapons experts safely and efficiently load 25 mm ammunition into the F-35A while simultaneously unloading spent shells.

It’s important for the Airmen who will use the loader on a daily basis to test it at an operational unit, said Lt. Col. Randall Austill, Air Combat Command, Chief of the Maintenance Munitions Branch.

Members of Hill’s active-duty 388th Maintenance Group and the reserve component 419th Maintenance Group used the published technical guidance to stock the loader and load the ammunition into the F-35A.

Tech. Sgt. Creighton Daetwyler, 388th Maintenance Squadron, said the tests not only validated the loader, but also provided maintainers an opportunity to give input on improving the procedures and equipment in the future.

“I’m proud of our weapons and ammo communities for their proactive drive to unleash Air Force combat capability,” said Col. Michael Miles, 388th Maintenance Group commander. “The results of this loader evaluation will help the Maintenance Group deliver combat capability anytime, anywhere when tasked.”