FARP keeps 354th AEW F-35As mission ready during Operation Iron Dagger

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jose Miguel Tamondong
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

F-35A Lightning IIs conducted a Forward Area Refueling Point (FARP) operation with Airmen from the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 1st Special Operations Squadron during Operation Iron Dagger on Dec. 7, 2021, at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.

Operation Iron Dagger is a bilateral, jointly dynamic force employment that showcases the Wing’s ability to rapidly mobilize and deploy fifth generation airpower across the Indo-Pacific theater. FARP is a capability that allows our forces to be strategically predictable and operationally unpredictable in the region.

“FARP is a fuels operation used to hot refuel aircraft in areas where fuel is otherwise not available,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Trace Eubanks, 354th Air Expeditionary Wing fuels quality assurance. “FARP personnel earn a special experience identifier and active FARP units are only located at a few installations across the Air Force.”

FARP specialists are Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants Airmen who are specially trained to perform covert nighttime refueling operations in deployed locations when air-to-air refueling is impossible or where fueling points are inaccessible.

The Kadena-based FARP team refueled two F-35A Lightning II aircraft assigned to the 356th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 354th Air Expeditionary Wing. This was the second time the 356th EFS participated in a FARP operation since receiving its first F-35.

“There are many benefits to being able to conduct FARP operations, specifically for the pilots involved in Iron Dagger,” said a 356th EFS F-35A Lightning II pilot. “It provides them with the real world experience and training of being able to land anywhere with a suitable runway, rapidly refuel and take off again with the fuel they need to continue to feed the fight.”

This unique capability enables fighter aircraft to land, replenish fuel and return to combat within a timeframe. Exercising elements of Agile Combat Employment enables U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific to operate from locations with varying levels of capacity and support. This ensures Airmen and aircrews are postured to respond across the spectrum of military operations.

“Being able to conduct FARP during Operation Iron Dagger complicates the calculus for our adversaries,” said the F-35 pilot. “FARP showcases our ability to refuel and rejoin the fight from any location.”

Pacific Air Forces is committed to enabling a flexible theater posture that will increase Department of Defense options for proactive and scalable employment of the Joint Force during conflict.