Subject matter experts from several US Air Force (USAF) commands have trained the F-16 pilots on the installation and operationalisation of recently fielded AN/ASQ-236 radars.

The experts were from the Air Force Reserve Test Centre (AFRTC), Air Force Materiel Command Air Combat Command, Air Force Life Cycle Management Centre, Air National Guard (ANG) and Minnesota ANG’s 148th Fighter Wing (FW), which operates Block 50 F-16CM.

Together, the experts practised end-to-end employment of the new radar pods and planned on how the different ANG units can operationalise new radar pods for all Post-Block F-16 jets.

Held between 24 and 26 January, the training exercise aimed to train the ANG pilots on how to install the externally-mounted ASQ-236 pod on F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets and allowed the team of experts to validate flight operations using software programmes.

148th FW weapons wing chief major Michael Kuzmuk said: “Pilots were trained by AATC subject matter experts on pod’s software and aircraft systems integration, including troubleshooting and emergency procedures management.

“Additionally, we trained and refined best practices for mission planning and post-flight analysis, which included post-mission intelligence distribution.”

The latest activity builds on the several months-long extensive modification works performed on F-16 aircraft, software and support equipment.

Last month, the 148th FW received the new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar pod and became the first unit to achieve all the operational requirements of the F-16 fleet.

Designed, fabricated and tested by the USAF and Northrop Grumman, the new all-weather and precision geo-location radar pod is already operational on F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets.

The 148th FW has also been selected as ANG’s AN/ASQ-236 centre for excellence and will be responsible for retaining expertise in loading, distribution, training and employment of the new radar pod.