Luke Air Force Base hosting massive training exercise today

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- About 50 jets from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps will be engaged in training exercises in the skies of Luke Air Force Base in Glendale today.

Tess Rafols talked to Lt. Col. Stephanie Wolfgeher, an instructor pilot, about today's exercises, which are designed to give F-16 pilots the unique opportunity to fly against different kinds of planes.

About half of the planes taking to the air today are not based at Luke.

Marine Corps F-18 Hornets will be coming in from California and Air Force F-18 Raptors  will coming in from Florida. In addition, some AT-38s will be coming in from Texas and Oklahoma.

"With this kind of opportunity, it's going to able to increase our tactical proficiency to fight aircraft we normally don't get to, to see how different aircraft perform against ours," Wolfgeher explained.

Most of today's training, which is going on 9 a.m.-4 p.m., will be happening to the west and south of the Valley at elevations above 6,000 to 10,000 feet.

"Really the only thing that the West Valley is going to see is a lot the aircraft coming in to land at Luke and then they'll be departing over the weekend," Wolfgeher said.

Some Valley airports like Williams Gateway will see some of the aircraft coming through to refuel.

"They'll basically land, get some more gas and then they'll  meet us back out in the airspace," Wolfgeher said.

Because all of the planes involved in today's exercises will be landing at Luke, the F-16 pilots will get the chance to talked to the other pilots face to face. Wolfgeher said the pilots will be able to get the best debriefing possible and that will provide invaluable information.