312 Fighter Squadron (Air Combat Command)



Constituted as 312 Fighter Squadron, as part of the 338 Fighter Group, as a Fighter Replacement Training Unit, on 16 July 1942.  RTUs were oversized units that trained individual pilots or aircrews following their graduation from flight school.

Activated on 22 Jul 1942, flying the Bell P-39 Airacobra (1942-1943), Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (1943-1944) & Curtiss P-40 Warhawk (1944).

The unit did not leave the US and was disbanded on 1 May 1944.

Reconstituted, and redesignated, as 312 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, on 1 May 1984, as part of the 58th Tactical Training Wing.

Activated on 1 Oct 1984, as the first General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon training squadron in the USAF.

Inactivated on 18 Jan 1991.

Redesignated as 312 Fighter Squadron on 2 May 2023.

Activated on 1 June 2023.

The unit is located on Luke AFB in Phoenix, Arizona, and is home to the Belgian F-35 Conversion Unit (BEL F-35 CU).  US and Belgian pilots and support crew work together to train the next generation of Belgian fighter pilots on the F-35A Lightning II.

The squadron is responsible for the training, or conversion to the F-35A, of 48 Belgian pilots and 120 technicians.  The duration of a pilot's conversion depends on that pilot's experience.  If they already flew the F-16, the pilot will have to attend six weeks of academic lessons and carry out 36 sessions in the simulator, just like 26 real flights.  Young pilots who have just left the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training at Sheppard Air Force Base, receive a longer training course.  For them it will take more than seven months to complete their initial qualification, including 37 flights and 44 sessions in the simulator, before they follow the same training as their more experienced colleagues.

312 FS is part of the 56th Operations Group of the 56th Fighter Wing, which is entirely dedicated to training new pilots.  Each year, it trains more than 400 F-35 and F-16 pilots, and 300 air traffic controllers.  The 56th Operations Group is the second largest Operations Group in the United States Air Force with 13 separate reporting organizations, including 6 F-35 (61, 62, 63, 308, 310 & 312 FS) and 2 F-16 (309 & 425 FS) squadrons.  It also trains F-35 pilots for the Danish & Dutch Air Forces and F-16 pilots for the Singapore Air Force.