The 157th FS moved in from Cheongju AB in 2000 to form the fourth – and last – F-16 unit within the 20th FW at Seosan AB. The squadron accepted its batch of the newly build block 52 airframes under the Peace Bridge II contract. These block 52 airframes are locally known as KF-16.
All RoKAF F-16 squadrons have a dual tasking. In the first place they are equipped with A/A missiles as the AIM-9 and AIM-120 to defend the Korean peninsula against attacks from the north. Secondly they have a dedicated ground-attack mission. Their main equipment for this mission is the LANTIRN targeting pod together with the AGM-65 Maverick missile. This equipment is chosen to counter massive North Korean tank attacks. Furthermore these F-16s are equipped with the advanced ALQ-165 ECM system which is a fully internal passive and active counter measures system. Therefore these aircraft don’t need an external ECM jammer.
Specifically to the 157th FS is that this squadron is tasked mainly to provide quick reaction alerts to protect the resident 39th TRG reconnaissance assets from being attacked by North Korea. Therefore it differs slightly from the other F-16 units’ task at Seosan AB. The squadron also has another distinctive feature within the Korean Viper family. It has – as only unit – female F-16 pilots in its ranks. The first was Capt. Ha Jung-mi in 2007 with Capt. Kim Hyo Seon following as second in 2009. ANother task of the squadron is that they provide for combat readiness training for the entire KF-16 community.
As the 111th FS, the squadron also has a buddy program, but this time with the USAF’s 36th FS at Osan AB. This buddy wing program allows members of both countries’ air force to learn from each other and operate together in contingency operations.
RoKAF F-16C block 52 #93-093
from the 20th FW seen on final approach at Seosan AB on October 6th, 2004. [Photo by Elmer van Hest]