Airforce to beef up presence in Alaska

    Fairbanks, Alaska (KINY) Tests are underway to see if a new U.S. Air Force Fighter Jet can handle Alaska's cold conditions.

    The U.S Air force plans to increase the amount of training and airmen stationed at the Eielson Air Force Base in Anchorage.

    An F-35 fighter jet was the first of its kind to land at the base and will be tested to measure its ability to operate in cold conditions, how it lands on icy runways and how the drag chute modification can respond to Alaskan conditions.  The drag chute system includes a removable or missionized pod.  The pods are removed with minimal time and effort.  The drag chute program was born from a Lockheed Martin study funded by Norway, Canada, and the Netherlands in 2010   A Royal Norwegian pilot will be among those that test the jets.

    Lockheed Martin said to deploy the chute, the pilot flips a switch up on the upper left side of the instrument panel. The switch activates hydraulic actuators that open the pod to release a Kevlar parachute. Once the aircraft is slowed sufficiently, the pilot flips the same switch down to release the drag chute as the aircraft comes to a stop.

    The U.S. Air Force plans to have 3,,500 airmen, civilian employees, military families and others stationed at the base by 2020.

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