April 16, 2010 (by TSgt. Tyrell Heaton) - The first two F-16s in a 21-jet exchange flew into the 113th FW, marking the start of a complete transition of the Capital Guardians fighter assets.
USAF F-16C block 30 #87-0277 is delivered to the 121st FS by Maj. Matt Shaw at Andrews AFB on April 15th, 2010. [USAF photo by TSgt. Tyrell Heaton]
The new jets have the same engine (block 30
), and are roughly two years newer. The big difference? A larger inlet. More air going in means higher performance for the engine.
"The main difference between the two jets is that the big inlet allows more air which significantly increases the performance of the jet," said Col Andrew Donnelly, 113 WG Maintenance Group commander.
"The large mouth gives the jet more speed, allows it to carry more weight and reach higher altitudes with ordinance, the overall capabilities are better," he added.
The "larger mouth," technically called the Modular Common Intake Duct, allows for nearly 15-30 percent greater thrust output for the engines compared to the old design, called the Negatively Scarfed Intake.
Since there is no change to the engine, this swap also means improved performance without additional training for the pilots or maintenance crew.
It will take about two weeks for the newer jets to get into flying rotation as they proceed through a complete maintenance inspection.
"We need to go through the entire service history of the aircraft," said Maj. Michael Oliver, 113th WG Maintenance Operations flight commander. "To gain an aircraft on paper it takes approximately 10 working days to go through historical documents," he added.
Aircraft mechanics will switch out the newer components of the current small mouth engines for use with the newer large mouth engines. Some engines will be completely replaced as the engines are newer and have fewer flying hours on them.
"It takes about five days to switch and engine," said Col Donnelly. "It could be done in two days but when we remove an engine a lot of scheduled maintenance checks come due, we also find some small repairs that we need to correct," he added.
The 113th gained the new F-16s from the New Mexico Air National Guard as their mission changed.
The 113th Wing's outgoing jets took off from Andrews AFB
for the last time when Col. Marc Sasseville, 113 WG Vice Commander, and Lt. Col. Paul Quirion, 113 WG ASA Commander, piloted their small-mouthed F-16s to New Mexico Thursday. The older jets will be used for parts, drones or sent to the aircraft bone yard in Arizona.
Currently the 113th has 22 jets and are scheduled to have 21 jets after the replacement is complete. The transfer of jets will not affect the alert readiness of the mission.