The 522nd FS was the first squadron of the Canon based 27th Wing to receive F-16s. It was equipped with the F-16 together with its sister squadrons – the 523rd and 524th. In the first place these were block 30 airframes received from various other units. Although the F-16 itself is not optimised for close air support missions, these F-16s were the first to replace A-10 units in theatre. The first F-16s were received in May of 1995 with the final delivery taking place during 1996.
It was not long before the squadron was tasked to take up the demanding rotations in South East Asia. The first deployment already happened in 1997 for an Operation Southern Watch deployment.
USAF F-16C block 50 #91-0382
of the 522nd FS releases an AGM-154 joint standoff weapon over the Utah Test & Training Range during 'Combat Hammer' in May of 2004. [USAF by MSgt. Michael Ammons]
In 2003 the squadron changed their block 30 airframes with newer block 50 airframes. These weren’t new airframes either but they came from other units. It took the squadron over a year to get completely up to speed with the newly added capacities. In BRAC 2005 it was decided to close down Canon AFB completely. Although this decision was reversed in the course of 2006, the decision to disband all the bases flying squadrons was kept and so the unit was disbanded in 2007. On December 21st, 2007 the last F-16 (#91-0366) departed not only the 522nd FS but Canon AFB for the last time as a viper base. This was the last of four F-16 squadrons that operated out of Canon AFB. On the same day an inactivation ceremony was held on base and the flag was passed to a new Commander.