March 31, 2010 (by Lt. Col. Reid Christopherson) - Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force senior leaders announced that nearly two dozen newer F-16 fighter jets will soon arrive at Joe Foss Field in Sioux Falls.
USAF F-16C block 30 #85-1442 from the 175th FS is seen on the ramp during the Sioux Falls Airshow 2006 on July 22nd, 2006. [Photo by Karen Justl]
The 175th Fighter Squadron of the South Dakota Air National Guard's 114th Fighter Wing has been flying block 30
F-16 aircraft since 1991. Those jets will be retired and replaced by newer block 40
F-16s. The 22 replacement jets are scheduled for transfer from Hill AFB
, Utah, to Sioux Falls between April and September.
"The South Dakota Air National Guard's fighter aircraft have provided outstanding contributions to our nation's defense and global interests for more than 62 years," said Gov. Mike Rounds. "This latest aircraft conversion will secure the Air Guard's operational capabilities for many years to come."
The assignment of Block 40 F-16s will ensure that the 175th Fighter Squadron remains fully combat capable. The abilities of the Block 40 F-16s are very similar to those of the squadron's currently assigned aircraft, which have had numerous system upgrades.
"The assignment of Block 40 F-16s provides strong affirmation by U.S. Air Force and National Guard leaders of their confidence in the contributions of the S.D. Air National Guard to our nation's defense," said Colonel Russ Walz, commander of the 114th Fighter Wing. "This aircraft conversion will ensure that the 175th Fighter Squadron remains ready and relevant for many years to come."