The first squadron of the 50th TFW to receive the brand-new F-16 fighters was the 313th TFS. Already in late 1980 the squadron received some block 10 airframes from Hill AFB to get the ground crew familiarized with the airframe and the technical procedures. Hahn was selected to receive these new jets as it was a frontline base in the center of Germany. Since the wing had a distinct air-to-ground task, it was decided to wait until the block 15 version became available, because that was optimized for this role.
On December 30th, 1981 the first two jets arrived and the full complement was received in mid 1982. The squadron became fully operational on June 14th, 1982. Since the weather at Hahn isn’t always perfect - certainly not in the winter months - the squadron deployed to Zaragoza in Spain to train on the Bardenas-Reales range. This range provides vast opportunities for live weapons releases and air maneuvering to be trained.
USAF F-16A block 15 #80-0555
from the 313th TFS on TDY to Zaragoza AB in March of 1982. The first USAFE deployment of the F-16. [Photo by Marty McGuire]
The squadron’s role was a primary air defence in the heart of the US corridor within West-Germany. Since the squadron was part of a Tactical Fighter Wing an advanced air-to-ground role was also part of the package. Last but not least, the squadron also had a strike role to perform. Hahn AFB housed a number of B-43 or B-61 nuclear devices and the F-16s were tasked to perform this tactical nuclear role as well. Therefore the squadron had to wait until the block 15 arrived, since the nuclear capability of the F-16 was incorporated in this airframe type and operationally released.
The USAF always provided the latest blocks to the most important operational units. After only having flown a mere 7 years on the block 15 version, the squadron already received the more capable F-16C and D models with the acceptance of block 25 airframes in 1988. The role of the squadron remained the same.
After the end of the Cold War the USAF had a major overcapacity of fighter units in Europe. In 1990 the decision came to disband the entire 50th TFW and its subordinate squadrons and to close down Hahn AFB all together. The squadron was disbanded on December 1st, 1991 and so ended 15 years of European operations.
USAF F-16C block 25 #84-1292
of the 313th TFS from Hahn AB seen on the runway of Ramstein AB, Germany on August 28th, 1988. [Photo by Ed Groenendijk]