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Belgian Chief of Defense visits 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base


The Belgian Chief of Defense, Admiral Michel Hofman, toured the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program at Sheppard Air Force Base, from which Belgium receives all of its fighter pilots.

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Belgian Chief of Defense visits 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base 01Belgian Chief of Defense, Admiral Michel Hofman, shakes hands with 80th Flying Training Wing Commander, Col. Robert Haas at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, April 21, 2021  (Picture source: US Air Force)


The 80th Flying Training Wing is a tenant unit on Sheppard Air Force Base. The 80th FTW hosts the world’s only internationally manned and managed pilot training program. Having celebrated 37 years of existence in 2018, the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program has now delivered more than 7,500 trained combat pilots to our NATO allies. ENNJPT trains 50 percent of all U.S. Air Force fighter pilots and is th esole source of fighter pilot training for partner nations Belgium, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands and Norway.

The 80th Flying Training Wing launches 50,000 sorties per year and is recognized as the busiest joint-use airfield in the Air Force. Its 201 aircraft flew about 250 training missions per day in 2017, which equates to more than 66,000 flight hours annually. The wing delivers more than 200 Undergraduate Pilot Training graduates annually, along with 150 graduates of Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals and Pilot Instructor Training graduates. Fourteen NATO countries participate in the unique Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program.

In addition to Undergraduate Pilot Training, ENJJPT also provides for its own Pilot Instructor Training (a program that teaches pilots to be instructor pilots), Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, and IFF Upgrade Instructor Pilot training. About 200 student pilots earn their wings at ENJJPT annually after a 55-week, three-phased training regimen. About 80 new instructor pilots are trained annually and up to 150 pilots transition through IFF each year. All this training is supported by a staff of more than 1,400 military, civilian and contract personnel employing 201 T-6A, and T-38C training aircraft.

The benefits of the ENJJPT Program are many -- lower cost, better training environment, enhanced standardization and interoperability, to name a few. Another important aspect of ENJJPT is the bond of friendship and respect developed among all participants in the 80th FTW. The student pilots and staff instructors of today will be the leaders of NATO's air forces of tomorrow. Having trained together, they will be much better prepared to fight and win together when the need ever arises.


Belgian Chief of Defense visits 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base 02 Admiral Michel Hofman looks into a T-38 Talon at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, April 21, 202(Picture source: US Air Force)