In the mid eighties the USAF decided that their presence in the Pacific area needed a boost. In the first place this was directed at strengthening their presence on the Korean peninsula, but since the 8th FW was already present on the island as well as numerous Korean units themselves, space was relatively limited. Therefore the USAF decided to strengthen their presence in Japan. This country didn’t have the disadvantages of Korea and modern infrastructure was already present. Two units were created under the newly formed 35th TFW, being the 13th and 14th TFS. The 14th was reactivated in 1987 receiving brand-new block 30 airframes tasked with air defense, with a limited attack duty as well.
The first airframes were received in 1987 with IOC being reached in early 1988. Those block 30 airframes came with a lot of advantages. They had a more powerful engine and the new APG-68 radar. New weapon systems were also installed and a nightly attack capability was added as well. The introduction of this type happened in parallel to the introduction with the 13th TFS.
USAF F-16C block 30 #87-0292
from the 14th FS flies over the coastline near Misawa AFB
on November 1st, 1991. The aircraft is armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder
missiles. [USAF photo by Sgt Gary R. Coppage]
Already in 1990 these airframes were again swapped for other ones. The block type stayed the same – being block 30 airframes – but they were of the so-called ‘big inlet’ version. With this modification the full extent of the General Electric F110 engine came into being, giving better overall performance of these jets. The mission of the squadron remained practically the same. These airframes became redundant with the Korean based 36th TFS, which was swapping them over with new block 40 jets at the time.
In 1994 the squadron was converted to the block 50 of the viper. In general this added some functionality again. More specifically this also meant that the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) mission was added to the mission profile of the squadron. Over the years new electronics and weapon systems were introduced on these airframes, but their role remained the same for the past 18 years. This also meant that the entire fleet at Misawa AB was standardized on the same block type.
USAF F-16D block 50 #90-0844
from the 14th FS is seen banking before coming into land during Red Flag 06-02 on August 18th, 2006. [Photo by Marco Sommacal