It might get louder

F-35s could use afterburners more frequently than Air National Guard promises


Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rosanne Greco: “They have enough years of flying this thing to know that they have to take off with afterburners almost all the time.”

“The 115th Fighter Wing currently uses afterburner on approximately 60 percent of our F-16 takeoffs at the airfield,” he [Col. Erik Peterson, commander of the 115th Fighter Wing] says. “Because the F-35A has more thrust and military power, the use of afterburner on takeoff is expected to be limited. As such, it has been modeled for 5 percent of takeoffs.”

In practice, however, the F-35 could use afterburners 10 times more frequently, according to an internal U.S. Air Force memo obtained by Isthmus. In response to “some discrepancies and concerns over F-35 flight elevation and afterburner usage,” the Air Force appears to be counseling officials to adjust models based on using afterburners up to 50 percent of the time.

“It’s all just a big Charlie Foxtrot that could have been addressed over a year ago when we all questioned the validity of only using 5 percent [afterburners],” the memo reads.