Fighter Squadron Composite 111 (VFC-111) Sun Downers is a US Navy Reserve adversary squadron based at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida (USA). Currently, it operates Northrop F-5N/F Tiger-IIs, of most of which are single-seater F-5Ns and one twin-seater F-5F, the "FrankenTiger". The Squadron is composed of experienced active duty junior officers, full-time support reservist, and selective reserves. This gives the squadron cutting edge real world experiences, as well as leveraging off experience and retaining talented instructors that have left active service.
|Fighter Squadron Composite 111 (VFC-111)|
VFC-111 Squadron Insignia
|Active||November 2006 - present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Motto(s)||Semper Confidens, Numquam Elatus|
|CDR Matthew N. Meritt|
VFC-111 was originally known as Fighter Composite Squadron 13 (VFC-13) Detachment Key West, which was established in January 2006. VFC-13 Det Key West was redesignated as VFC-111 in November 2006.
VFC-111 assumed its 'Sun Downer' insignia, callsign, and traditions from the VF-111 Sun Downers, a famous U.S. Navy fighter squadron, that was disestablished as a fleet F-14 Tomcat squadron at then-NAS Miramar, California in 1995. Officially, in contrast with the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy does not recognize a direct lineage with disestablished squadrons. However, unofficially, the Naval Aviation community strives to retain traditions and history whenever a squadron designation and name is resurrected in a new unit.
VFC-111 operates as part of the U.S. Navy Reserve's fleet adversary program, providing dissimilar air combat training to fleet strike fighter and Marine fighter attack squadrons, as well as U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard fighter squadrons.
Ostensibly assigned to the Navy Reserve's Tactical Support Wing, VFC-111 is actually an Active-Reserve Integration (ARI) unit composed of both Regular Navy and Navy Reserve personnel. In this capacity, it has assumed the adversary role of a since deactivated active duty squadron at NAS Key West known as Fighter Squadron 45 (VF-45). VFC-111's unique location at NAS Key West, Florida, home of the Navy's Strike Fighter Air Readiness Program (SFARP), eliminates costly adversary detachments and also provides a significant portion of adversary support to all F/A-18 Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRS) in the Navy and Marine Corps, i.e., VFA-106 at NAS Oceana, Virginia; VFA-122 at NAS Lemoore, California; VMFAT-101 at MCAS Miramar, California; and more recently with VAQ-129 at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington following that squadron's stand-up of EA-18G Growler training. With the standup of the Navy and Marine Corps F-35 Fleet Replacement Squadrons, i.e., VFA-101 at Eglin AFB, Florida; VFA-125 at NAS Lemoore, and VMFAT-501 at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, VFC-111 will provide support to these units as well.