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132 FW to potentially lose 21 F-16s

December 18, 2012 (by Asif Shamim) - The AirForceTimes reports that the 2013 Defence Authorisation Bill proposes airforce cuts which includes the retirement of 21 F-16s, all from the 132nd Fighter Wing based at Des Moine, Iowa.

USAF F-16C block 30 #87-0230 from the 124th FS/132nd FW sits in front of the Wings hanger.

Senator Tom Latham from Iowa released a statement Monday via his website where he blasted the proposal.

"The negotiators have defied the will of House and Senate members who voted for the need to review the full national security implications and proper cost-benefit analysis of this agreement. I oppose this plan that in essence complies with the White House’s proposal to retire the F-16s of the 132nd Fighter Wing, and I will vote against this legislation when it is considered by the House."

Congressman Latham originally worked with his colleagues in the House of Representatives to include language in appropriations and reauthorization bills to freeze the proposed retirement of all Air Force aircraft until the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office could review a cost-benefit analysis. The U.S. Senate approved the same language in their versions of the bills. The language was supported by Latham to block an Air Force plan to retire the Des Moines-based F-16s.

"The 132nd Fighter Wing has been an exemplary unit of the U.S. Air Force," Congressman Latham said. "I do not believe that the Air Force's recommendation to close this fighter wing was based on thorough cost-benefit analysis, and I will continue working to ensure that defense spending decisions are based on solid data and strengthening our national security."

Latham pledged to continue the fight to protect the 132nd's current mission and block the White House plan to retire the F-16 mission through every tool available to him. This includes introducing standalone legislation in the coming days that mirrors the language previously approved by the House and Senate.

The bill is due to be vote on by the end of this week.

Additional images:

Tail detail of USAF F-16C block 42 #89-2019 with markings of the 132nd FW. [Photo by Jake Melampy]
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