THE US AIR Force is re-assuring Northrop F-5 operators that it will continue supporting them, despite the planned closure of the dedicated F-5/T-38 San Antonio Air Logistics Center (ALC) at Kelly AFB, Texas.

Three new homes are being considered for the SA-ALC, which manages the USAF T-37/T-38 fleets, global F-5 fleets and weapon systems deployed to over 27 non-US users under the foreign-military sales programme.

The transfer will take place by 2001, to Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, Hill AFB, Utah, or Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.

Under the changes foreshadowed by the decision of the US Government's Base Realignment and Closure Commission to close Kelly, the ALC says: "Some level of privatisation, or contracting out of our functions with our continued oversight, is also possible."

Work is accelerating on the RF/F-5 structural-upgrade programme (SUP), awarded to Northrop Grumman by the ALC in March. Of 2,617 F-5s made between 1963 and 1989, at least half of the 1,500 still in service are considered eligible for the SUP.

Source: Flight International