The USAF Pacific Air Forces Command is responisble for a strategically important region. As such, its frontline units are equiped with the most modern versions of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, including Block 40/42 and Block 50/52 aircraft.
The USAF Pacific Air Forces command started receiving F-16s shortly after deliveries to the USAF began. Modernization of equipment in the Pacific Rim theatre, which includes Korea, was high on the priority list of the Pentagon after the U.S. forces drawdown in that area under the Carter administration.
Pacific Air Forces Inventory
The first PACAF unit to receive the F-16 was the 8th TFW at Kunsan AB in South Korea. Kunsan thus became the first overseas F-16 base. The 8th TFW at Kunsan had the 35th and 80th TFS re-equipped with F-16s, which replaced the F-4D Phantom. The 51st TFW at Osan AB followed shortly after.
The other units in the Pacific rim (the 35th TFW based at Misawa AB in Japan and the Alaskan-based 354th TFW) also received the new aircraft very soon. Currently, these units are equipped with the most modern versions of the viper, indicating the importance the Pentagon assigns to these units. The strategic importance of PACAF units was also stressed after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. While other units faced major cutbacks, none of the PACAF units were disbanded. At the same time, the modernization efforts continued with the delivery of block 40/40 and block 50/52 airframes.
A close look at the teeth of the Wild Weasel: two 35th FW F-16CJ-50s carrying HTS pod, 2x AIM-9M 2x AIM-120
, 2x AGM-88, ECM pod, and 2x 370gal fuel tanks. [USAF photo]
Modifications & Armament
CCIP - Common Configuration Implementation Program
The PACAF units are mostly equipped with block 40/42 and 50/52 aircraft. These aircraft will be upgraded with the CCIP (Common Configuration Implementation Program) enhancement, just like their stateside counterparts. This modification incorporates a number of systems originally designed for the European MLU program into the existing fleet of USAF Block 40/42/50/52 aircraft. This program started in 1998. The CCIP configuration includes the following systems: Modular Mission Computer, Color Multifunction Display Set, Common Data Entry Electronics Unit, Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator, Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), Link 16 Multifunction Information Distribution System (MIDS), and Low Volume Terminal with TACAN. This modification will allow cost savings through a common type certification and stock savings. This will greatly enhance the fleet's flexibility.
USAF F-16C block 40
, based at Osan AFB
, parked in front of a HAS [Photo by Mike V.]
Please refer to the F-16 Units
section for an overview of units.
Participation in combat deployment has been limited till recently. Both the 13th and 14th FS from Misawa, Japan have participated in ONW/OSW deployments and also in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 18th FS was deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom.