Conversion from the A-7D/K started in 1992 when the 124th FS started to receive F-16C/D block 42 aircraft. Most of the aircraft came from the 36th FS and many from Shaw AFB, South Carolina. The tailcode on the A-7 was 'IA' but this was not carried over onto the F-16 in the first period. A few years after receiving it's 24 F-16s it was required to reduce its numbers to 16 airframes much like other F-16 units in the ANG due to overall number reductions imposed by the government.
Starting in 2002 the 124th FS began a program to change its engines from the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 to the F100-PW-229. The -229, as it is more commonly known, is a more powerful version then the previous F100-PW-220. The more capable -229 engine allows these aircraft to be combat-coded. Combat-coded means the aircraft can be taken into combat, something the F100-PW-220 aren’t supposed to do after conversion. However the -229 is expensive so not all of the aircraft were fitted with -229's. As of 2005, half the 124th's fleet has -229's in service. Due to engine and block compatibility, the 124th FS often deploys with the 112th FS and the 125th FS which is also going through this re-engine program at the same pace. All three of these squadron's surplus engines are being sent to F-15 units that still use the F100-PW-220.
USAF F-16C block 30 #87-0230
from the 124th FS/132nd FW is poised to accept it's new pilot after a 'Change of Command' ceremony held on May 1st, 2010. The 'Wing Jet' was displayed as the center piece for the ceremony held in the west hangar of the Des Moines ANGB. Saturdays ceremony was the twelfth in the units almost 70 year history in which Col. William Drew 'Toto' DeHaes accepted command. [USAF photo by SMSgt. Tim Day]
In 2007 the 124th FS changed their block 42 airframes with the big mouth block 30 version. The last block 42 to fly out was an F-16D (#89-2179) which departed Des Moines on March 30th, 2007. Shortly after - on April 15th, 2007 - the first F-16C block 30 went to the paint barn and aircraft number #86-0333 emerged with a new look and a tail code was added. A new tail art represented the Herky the Hawk of the University of Iowa.
Although the squadron changed blocks, the mission profile stayed more or less the same. These block 30 airframes have received the so-called CCIP program which made these airframes practically comparable with the former block 42 airframes (except for the engine that is).
In 2013 the squadron started trading in their F-16s for the MQ-9B UAV. The last F-16s flew out in September of that year ending the transition.
USAF F-16C block 42 #89-2037
from the 124th FS is serviced for a new training sortie. Note that the Sidewinder
is attached under the wing and the wingtips are clear. [Photo by Mike Kopack]