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Facts and pictures from the German Air Force Flying Training Center (GAFFTC)
at Holloman AFB

- Fliegerisches Ausbildungszentrum der Luftwaffe, FlgAusbZLw -

Base: Holloman AFB (German Air Force Flying Training Center)
Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA
Date: 2003, 2004

Holloman AFB Main Gate

Holloman AFB Main Gate

Holloman AFB Holloman AFB

Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB) is located in New Mexico's Tularosa Basin between the Sacramento and San Andreas mountain ranges on the eastern edge at the southern part of White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). The base is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Alamogordo, New Mexico, and 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of El Paso, Texas. The base covers 59,639 acres (24,136 ha) of land and is located at an altitude of 4,093 feet. Holloman Air Force Base is home to the world's longest, 50,188 feet (almost 10 miles), and fastest, approaching 10,000 feet per second (Mach 9), Test Track.
Until 2008 the legendary stealth fighter Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk was based at Holloman AFB, within the 49th Fighter Wing (FW).

On March, 11 2008, the USAF was holding an official retirement ceremony at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, for the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter. By the end of April 2008, all the remaining F-117s have been retired into secure storage at the Tonopah Test Range base in Nevada, which was the type's first operational base.

The 49th Fighter Wing is now flying the Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor.

The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) and the "German Air Force Flying Training Center (GAFFTC)" at Holloman AFB

GAFFTC/FlgAusbZLw Patch

GAFFTC/FlgAusbZLw Patch

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 was moved to Holloman Air Force Base, NM, in 1992.

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 (GAFADC) at Ft. Bliss, TX and the centralizing of German aircrew training for the Tornado at a single location.

German Air Force Flying Training Center (GAFFTC)

On May 1, 1996, at Holloman AFB the German Air Force Tactical Training Center (TTC) was established in concept with the 20th Fighter Squadron which provided aircrew training in the McDonnell Douglas F-4F Phantom II.

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 aircraft permanently at Holloman AFB, NM.

The TTC served as the parent command for two German air crew training squadrons. The F-4 Training Squadron oversaw all German F-4 student personal affairs, and provided German instructor pilots to cooperate in the contracted F-4 training program provided by the U.S. Air Force (20th Fighter Squadron). On 20 December 2004 the 20th Fighter Squadron ("Luftwaffe Silver Lobos") was inactivated.

Panavia Tornado PA-200

A second TTC unit, the Tornado Training Squadron, provides academic and tactical flying training, by German Air Force instructors, for German Tornado aircrews. The first contingent of Panavia Tornado PA-200 aircraft arrived at Holloman in March 1996. More than 300 German Air Force members are permanently assigned at Holloman to the TTC, the only unit of its kind in the United States.

The Tactical Training Center (TTC) was redesignated the German Air Force Flying Training Center (GAFFTC) on July 1, 1999 in conjunction with its growing mission, and officially activate on March 31, 2000. It is today the largest training facility of the German Air Force. Their mission is to conduct a Fighter Weapons Instructor Course (FWIC) for the Tornado and advanced tactical training in preparation for combat.

Panavia Tornado PA-200

The GAFFTC 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 witch are the First Line Maintenance Squadron, the Second Line Maintenance and Electronic Squadron and the Supply Squadron.

Since 1999 GAFFTC includes also a Tornado Full Mission Simulator built and maintained by CAE. To simulate the motion and G-forces on this fixed-based simulator, air cushions integrated in the crewmembers' flight suits and seats are inflated and deflated.

Panavia Tornado PA-200

In 2004 the simulator was upgraded with a 13-channel Medallion-S visual system. A separate visual channel provides simulation of the Tornado's Laser Designator Pod (LITENING), which allows realistic weapons delivery training for laser-guided bombs. The manufacturer CAE also provided its state-of-the-art database generation system and team with STN ATLAS for the on-site integration of the new visual system.

On December 5, 2005 a German AF Tornado finished the 40,000th flight hour since the opening of the German Air Force Flying Training Center (GAFFTC) at Holloman AFB.

As of July 2007 there are 600 German military personnel and 21 Tornado PA-200 aircraft assigned to Holloman AFB, NM; the planned number of flight hours per year was about 4,500.

Panavia Tornado PA-200

With the landing of a freshly painted Tornado, the German Air Force Flying Training Center completed 55,555 Tornado flight hours at Holloman AFB on October, 13 2009. German Air Force members shared the momentous occasion with the 49th Fighter Wing (USAF) by inviting the wing commander to accompany the GAFFTC commander in the flight. The sharing of the flight was a gesture that exemplified the continued friendship between the two nations.

The German Tornado that the two commanders made the historic feat in received a unique paint job before the flight. (Picture here!)

The end of an era after 23 years in New Mexico.

GAFTTCOM/TaktAusbKdo USA Patch

GAFTTCOM/TaktAusbKdo USA Patch

The Federal Ministry of Defense decided on 12 April 2016 to close down the facilities of the German Air Force Flying Training Center (GAFFTC) at Holloman Air Force Base.

As a result of this decision the "German Air Force Tactical Training Command/USA" (GAFTTCOM USA) was established on 1 July 2016 in order to ensure administrative control of all flying training facilities in the USA and Canada by a superior command and control element.

On 1 April 2019 the Tactical Training Command relocated to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Related pictures:

Tornado IDS

German Air Force Tornado IDS at the GAFFTC German Air Force Flying Training Center (Holloman AFB)

Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk at Holloman Air Force Base

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Update: 3-Dec-2023

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