The Aggressors are bringing new capabilities to the combat, to allow them to higher replicate new threats and practice US and allied forces to counter them.
The primary two “new” F-16s for the 18th Aggressor Squadron arrived final week at Eielson Air Drive Base, Alaska. These Vipers, acquired from Dannelly Area Air Nationwide Guard Base, Alabama, are the primary scheduled to reach all through 2023 to replace the aircraft currently assigned to the squadron. Whereas the 18 AGRS was already flying the F-16C Block 30, the jets coming from the Air Nationwide Guard have been considerably upgraded and produce new capabilities that can enable the Aggressors to enhance the standard of the coaching they supply.
“The Air Drive is utilizing an ideal alternative to recapitalize investments made by the Nationwide Guard and improve the capabilities of the present Aggressor fleet,” stated Lt. Col. Chad Richards, 354th Operations Group deputy commander. “That is going to supply extra functionality and realism in order that the plane and the pilots which might be being educated right here within the JPARC (Joint Pacific Alaska Vary Advanced) can have a greater adversary and so they can practice to a better high quality risk.”
The upgraded avionics enable the Aggressors to duplicate extra superior threats and supply lifelike coaching to Division of Protection and accomplice nation aircrews in exercises like Red Flag-Alaska. Mixed with the greater than 75,000 sq. miles of airspace within the Joint Pacific Alaska Vary Advanced, Eielson is a hub of coaching for superior airpower operations.
“The up to date plane are going to amplify their efforts and produce much more helpful coaching to all of our companions and allies,” stated Lt. Col. Richards. “We’re in a position to supply unparalleled coaching, each to america Air Drive, our joint companions, in addition to many accomplice nations throughout the Pacific. I’m wanting ahead to seeing what the Aggressors get to do with them and the way we make our Air Drive stronger.”
The Air Drive’s Aggressors are usually not the one ones upgrading their rides, as additionally the well-known Fleet Composite Squadron (VFC) 13 Fighting Saints of the U.S. Navy is receiving upgraded F-16s. The truth is, the unit is within the technique of totally transitioning from the F-5N Tiger II to the F-16C Block 32, with the primary plane acquired in October 2022 from the Arizona Air Nationwide Guard already flying out of Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada.
The squadron change of command ceremony held in December 2022 was additionally used to formally introduce the Preventing Falcon into service with the Saints, with one of many F-16s painted within the Have Glass V scheme turning into the brand new Commander’s plane. Because the unit receives approximatively 12 F-16s, its F-5s will re-equip VFC 204 River Rattlers at NAS/JRB New Orleans, Louisiana.
In line with Scramble Magazine, official US Navy price range paperwork launched in 2021 present that 20 single-seat F-16Cs Block 32 and 6 two-seat F-16Ds Block 25 are being transferred to the Navy to help adversary missions for the fleet. VFC-13, the truth is, isn’t the one unit to be re-equipped with F-16s, as Fallon’s Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC) will obtain the remaining eight F-16C and 6 F-16D to exchange its remaining legacy F/A-18C/D Hornets, which can be withdrawn from use.
The F-16s of the Air Nationwide Guard acquired numerous upgrades all through the years, such because the Heart Show Unit, the Scorpion Helmet Mounted Display (HMD), the Litening focusing on pod and the AN/APG-83 SABR (Scalable Agile Beam Radar) Energetic Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. The CDU replaces the analogue devices of the middle console pedestal with a 6×8 inch show, offering on the identical time a bigger display to indicate with extra element the feed from the brand new focusing on pod and radar.
The cockpit of a Naval Pink Air Viper, one of many just lately acquired Block 32s. Taking over your entire middle console is the 6 x 8 inch pedestal show that has change into synonymous with the F-16V improve outdoors of the US. It’s very nice to lastly be capable to see one correctly. pic.twitter.com/gjg5hqE1Vc
— Abd Nav (@AbdNav2K2) October 29, 2022
The brand new AESA radar reached the Full Operational Capability (FOC) on the U.S. Air Drive Air Nationwide Guard F-16s in October 2020, whereas the radar improve was accomplished this 12 months. It isn’t recognized if 18 AGRS and VFC 13 acquired APG-83-equipped F-16s, nonetheless that is unlikely, as solely 72 plane have been upgraded with the brand new radar and they’re assigned to the homeland protection mission due to their improved efficiency over the mechanical APG-68.