The squadron was the first to receive brand-new F-16s. First from the General Dynamics plant in Fort Worth, later from the TAI plant in neighbouring Mürted. The squadron had a dedicated training task within the Turkish air Force. Therefore the most F-16s were delivered to this unit so pilot training on the new type could start immediately. At the time, the squadron was still known as ‘Öncel Filo’. After the initial training syllabi, a number of aircraft were transferred to 142 Filo to form another air defence squadron on short notice.
In 1999 the squadron was re-designated as 143 Filo and became a part of 4AJU based at Akinci AFB. This was done because the other block 30 airframes which are operated within 142 Filo are also based at Akinci AB. This made it very convenient for aircraft maintenance and when 143 Filo needs more aircraft on short notice, 142 Filo can provide them very quickly.
TuAF F-16C block 30 #87-0020
from 143 Filo is coming in at Volkel AB on April 12th, 2006. [Photo by Mike Schoenmaker]
The squadron will keep flying the block 30 airframes for some time. These are the oldest airframes in the Turkish inventory but were already designed to meet a 6000-hour lifespan. Since these jets are only used for training, the flying hours don’t count as fast as in other operational squadrons.
In 2014 a number of block 40 airframes were inserted into the squadron. This was done to accommodate another role, being that of reconnaissance. With the phasing out of the RF-4E in April of 2014 a solution had to be sought. This came in the form of newly acquired DB-110 recce pods. These were all included in this squadron.