The history of the F-16 within the 428th FS is two-fold. In 1980 Nellis AFB was selected as one of the first to receive the F-16 in its inventory. At that time it was home to the 474th TFW. All three resident squadrons – being the 428th, 429th and 430th – were being equipped with the F-16. The squadrons shared the same version of the Viper, being all block 10 versions. Although these weren’t dedicated to the air-to-ground or attack role, the squadron performed this task. This wasn’t ideal since the small stabilizers made a problem with the centre of gravity during attack missions when heavy ordnance was being used. Experience gained by the Nellis AFB squadrons ultimately led to the development of Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) number 4003 which replaced the small stabilizers with the larger ones that were incorporated on the production line from the block 15 version onwards. However, compared with other European air forces the USAF never upgraded any older block 10 airframes with the block 15 stabilizers. So the 428th kept flying the block 10 version in the ground attack role until its disbandment in 1989.
USAF F-16A block 10 #79-0351
from the 428th TFS is strolling past the camera at RAF Waddington on August 8th, 1986. [Airfighters.com
photo by Arie van Groen]
The squadron was reactivated at Canon AFB, New Mexico in 1990 as an F-111 unit and flew with that for 5 years before it was disbanded again with the phasing out of the F-111 aircraft within the USAF.
In 1998 the squadron was once more reactivated, again at Canon AFB as part of the 27th OG. In the Peace Carvin III contract that Singapore signed with Lockheed there was an enclosure to base these aircraft at Canon AFB for training duties. The unit was reactivated in 1998 with the first aircraft arriving in 1999. For six years this training role was retained. In 2005 these training activities were concentrated within the 425th FS at Luke AFB, Arizona and the 428th FS was disbanded again.
F-16C block 52 #94-0273
being part of the Peace Carvin II program and temporary part of the 428FS, standing on the ramp of Cold Lake on May 13th, 2000. [Afterburner.nl