German Air Force
The German Air Force has been training its aircrews in the United States since 1958. This training took place on various bases throughout the states before it has been moved to Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., in mid 1992.
German Air Force pilot candidates learn to fly in Texas at U.S. Air Force undergraduate pilot training. The future Weapon System Officers (WSO) attend undergraduate navigator training at Pensacola NAS, Fla.
The U.S. Air Force’s 20th Fighter Squadron at Holloman trained German pilots and WSOs to fly the F-4F PHANTOM. In addition, the 20th conducted the Flight Instructor (IP) and the Fighter Weapons Instructor Course (FWIC). The German government paid the full cost of this program. The 20th Fighter Squadron was inactivated on Dec. 20, 2004.
The German Air Force Tactical Training Center (GAF TTC) was activated as a tenant unit at Holloman AFB May 1, 1996. This program, based on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two governments and financed by the German Federal Ministry of Defence (FMOD), is unique by the way that it allows the German Air Force to deploy and station their TORNADO A/C permanently at Holloman AFB, N.M. With the activation, 300 German military personnel and 12 Tornado aircraft joined Team Holloman. The mission was to conduct a Fighter Weapons Instructor Course (FWIC) for the TORNADO and advanced tactical training in preparation for combat.
The Tactical Training Center was redesignated the German Air Force Flying Training Center (GAF FTC) July 1, 1999 in conjunction with their growing mission. In addition, German Air Force pilots and WSOs are now learning to fly the TORNADO at Holloman AFB and instructor aircrews are being trained as well. As of July 2007 there are 600 German military personnel and 21 Tornado aircraft assigned to Holloman AFB, N.M. These numbers may increase up to 900 personnel and 42 A/C, depending on the actual training needs.
There are numerous reasons the German Air Force trains here. The area offers great flying weather and has suitable air space. Other reasons are the proximity of Holloman AFB to the German Air Force Air Defense Center (GAF ADC) at Ft. Bliss, Texas and the centralizing of German aircrew training for the TORNADO at a single location.
The GAF FTC consists of two Groups, the Training Group and the Support Group. The Training Group holds the administrative staff which is necessary to plan and support the flying courses. Within the Training Group the Training Squadron is home of all the instructors and the students. The Support Group consists of three squadrons which are the First Line Maintenance Squadron, the Second Line Maintenance and Electronic Squadron and the Supply Squadron.