Cover stars of the March issue of AFM, on sale now, are the Tornados of Tactical Air Force Wing 51 ‘Immelmann’ in northern Germany, photographed by Dr Stefan Petersen. This unit has taken over the training of future Luftwaffe Tornado crews after disbandment of the German Air Force Flying Training Center in New Mexico.
Previously, future Tornado crews remained in the US for type training. Conversion courses were carried out at Holloman AFB in New Mexico since 1996. That’s all over now: starting with Basic (B) course 79 – consisting of four pilots and four weapon systems officers (WSOs) – Tornado training has relocated to the north of Germany.
The wing is growing after taking on extra training personnel and materiel. “We have got 190 new posts and the jet inventory is rising from 25 to 39,” explained Oberst (Colonel) Kristof Conrath, CO of the ‘Immelmann’ wing. The wing commander doesn’t see the new training task as a burden, but an opportunity to incorporate more experienced staff who can also be deployed in other areas. “Thanks to the increased number of flying and weapons instructors we have gained significant additional expertise,” he explained.
The March issue of AFM is out now, and is also available as an app.