Alabama F-16Cs fly to Alaska for new mission

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Unread post21 Jan 2023, 21:10

Jan. 20, 2023 | By Greg Hadley
With the Alabama Air National Guard’s 187th Fighter Wing set to receive its first F-35s this year, the unit’s F-16Cs are getting a new home—much farther north.

The first two of those F-16s, still adorned with their “Alabama” tail flashes, flew into Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, on Jan. 12. Within months, they’ll sport a new “wraith” black paint scheme as adversary aircraft with the 18th Aggressor Squadron. The two jets are the first of 19 “new-ish” aircraft the squadron will get this year, Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Albert Roper told Air & Space Forces Magazine in a phone interview.

“They’re fully combat-capable, combat-mission-ready aircraft,” Roper said in a phone interview. “So we’ll just bring them up here to Alaska. … they’ll go to the paint barn, we’ll do a new paint job on them. But we flew up here last week, so they’re flyable aircraft. And then once we get our pilots trained, so they get their familiarization flights, ground training, [simulator] training, computer-based training … we’ll start flying and put them on the line and put them up in the air and flying those aircraft as soon as the next couple of weeks.”

The Alabama ANG F-16Cs are Block 30 versions, representing an upgrade from the older F-16Cs the squadron has today, Roper said.

“There’s about a decade gap in the software upgrade and hardware upgrades,” Roper said. “So I look at it as the airframe and the engine, it’s still a Block 30 F-16. But [they] kind of ripped out things like the coaxial cables, speed transmitters, and the processors and replaced it with kind of like ethernet and then increased the processing capability of the computers.” ... ard-f-16s/

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