The Air Education and Training Command provides the majority of the USAF F-16 training facilities. AETC's main F-16 unit is the 56th FW based at Luke AFB, Arizona. This unit provides training for every USAF F-16 pilot.
Originally, Hill AFB was selected to host all F-16 training facilities, both for the US Air Force and for foreign customers. A few years after the introduction of the F-16, the training task slowly started moving to Luke AFB. From the early nineties, Luke AFB became the main training facility, with 8 squadrons providing training.
Please refer to our USAF Air Combat Command article for the USAF F-16 inventory.
Foreign Air Forces
Luke AFB is also host to a number of (semi-)permanent detachments from foreign airforces. These detachments provide training for F-16 pilots from their respective airforces, working in close cooperation with USAF instructors and profiting from the training facilities at Luke. More permanent detachments often get a dedicated USAF squadron designation. The first country to do so was Singapore. In the early nineties, the RSAF based a number of ex-Thunderbirds aircraft at Luke AFB for training purposes. Ever since then, the RSAF has maintained a permanent detachment at Luke, which uses the 425th FS "Black Widows" designation. Currenty, this detachment is equipped with the latest block 52 aircraft. The second country to receive pilot training was Taiwan. A number of Taiwanese F-16 block 20 aircraft were dispatched to the 21st FS "Gamblers" at Luke AFB for this purpose. Other international customers are trained at the Air National Guard facilities at Tucson. Singapore also maintains a detachment with the ACC's 27th FW at Cannon AFB, New Mexico.
After the end of the Cold War, the AETC F-16 training facilities were largely unaffected. Four units were disbanded: the 311th FS and the 312th FS at Luke AFB, the 72nd TFTS 'Falcons' at MacDill AFB, and the 396th TTG at Sheppard AFB.
Two F-16A Block 20 aircraft on a training mission over the Arizonan desert, seen from the backseat of an F-16B Block 20. These aircraft are operated by the 21st FS 'Gamblers' at Luke AFB on behalf of the Republic of China
and are used to train RoCAF
pilots [ROCAF photo]
Please refer to the F-16 Units
section for an overview of units.