The scheduled transfer of F-22 Raptors from Holloman AFB, N.M. to Tyndall AFB, Fla. and corresponding transfer of F-16 Fighting Falcons from Luke AFB, Ariz. to Holloman will be delayed due to an ongoing freeze on Air Force structure changes, including aircraft transfers.
The Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution (CR) [HJ Res 117] under which the Department of Defense is currently operating expressly prohibits aircraft retirements, divestitures, realignments or transfers that result in changes to force structure that would be permanent or irreversible. Additionally, in congressional testimony earlier this year, the Secretary of the Air Force committed to wait for congressional deliberations before taking any action that would presume approval of proposed FY13 force structure changes.
Aircraft and personnel assigned to the 7th Fighter Squadron at Holloman were scheduled to move to Tyndall in spring 2013, and two F-16 training squadrons from Luke were planned to move to Holloman shortly thereafter. Despite the freeze, the 49th Wing continues to plan and prepare for this mission change.
“Let me emphasize that although this mission change has been delayed, it has not been canceled,” said Colonel Andrew Croft, 49th Wing commander. “We are actively preparing for the arrival of the F-16s, and, in the meantime, F-22s will continue to fly at Holloman and remain ready for worldwide deployment anytime, anywhere.”
Croft is committed to minimizing the impact this delay will have on Holloman Airmen and their families.
“I’m asking our Airmen to remain flexible and understanding of the complex budgetary situation our nation is facing,” he said.
At this time it is unknown when the aircraft transfers will occur, but the Air Force will not be able to make force-wide restructuring decisions until a final defense appropriation and authorization bill is passed. Because of the size and complexity of these movements, the Air Force is planning to synchronize these transfers after the lifting of the CR in a way that will optimize combat capability and minimize disruption to Airmen and their families.