Luke conducts Marine hot pit refueling training to enhance survivability, resiliency of F-35s in joint ops

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mason Hargrove
  • 56th Fighter Wing

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — U.S. Marine Corps F-35C Lightning II plane captains from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma participated in hot pit refueling training for F-35A aircraft, March 12-13, 2024, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

The collaboration between Luke AFB and MCAS Yuma serves to strengthen Agile Combat Employment (ACE), a strategic approach designed to ensure airpower survivability and resilience in contested environments.

“A cold refuel shuts down the aircraft, lengthening the process, whereas a hot pit refuel keeps the engines on for quick takeoff post-refueling,” said Staff Sgt. Roman Thomas, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron F-35A maintenance instructor. “By training Marines and Airmen on each other’s jets, we enhance efficiency and safety, which smooths out our operations.”

Hot pit refueling supports ACE by allowing for quick refueling and re-launching of aircraft from various bases, improving the military’s ability to excel on deployments and in combat.

Technological advances in aircraft design, fueling equipment, and infrastructure play a vital role in the effective execution of ACE and hot pit refueling, promoting a culture of adaptability and innovation that is essential for maintaining air superiority.

“The ability for an F-35A to land at a Marine base, rapidly refuel, and then quickly rejoin the fight — and the other way around — is imperative for joint combat readiness,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jessica Revere, 56th Maintenance Training superintendent. “Through this training, we’re mastering the intricacies of each other’s F-35 models.”

By embracing ACE, this partnership is setting new benchmarks for military collaboration and ensuring that U.S. forces stay adaptable and at the forefront of global security.