The US Air Force’s (USAF) 354th Fighter Wing (FW) has taken the delivery of its first two F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft.
The new jets were delivered by the Dannelly Field Air National Guard Base (ANGB), Alabama, US, on January 12.
The F-16s are being acquired to replace the existing fighter aircraft assigned under the 354th FW‘s 18th Aggressor Squadron (AGRS).
Based at Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) in Alaska, the 354th FW is part of the Pacific Air Forces.
Deliveries of additional F-16 aircraft are expected to continue throughout the year.
354th Operations Group deputy commander lieutenant colonel Chad Richards said: “The Air Force is using a great opportunity to recapitalise investments made by the National Guard and upgrade the capabilities of the current Aggressor fleet.
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“This is going to provide more capability and realism so that the aircraft and pilots that are being trained here in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC) can have a better adversary and they can train to a higher quality threat.”
Eielson AFB hosts several advanced airpower operations at its JPARC, which offers more than 75,000 square miles of airspace for conducting training missions.
The upgraded F-16 fighter jets feature new avionics that will allow 18th AGRS combat pilots to perform realistic training by replicating advanced threats.
The new jets will further support the squadron to take part in various multinational exercises such as RED FLAG-Alaska, together with other partner nations’ forces.
Richards added: “The updated aircraft are going to amplify their efforts and produce even more valuable training to all of our partners and allies.”
Last April, the 354th FW received the final F-35A aircraft, as part of a two-year build-up process.