Air Power swapping-out Eielson-based unit’s growing old fighter jets

Newer F-16s to enhance 18th Aggressor Squadron’s skill to ‘know the risk, ‘educate that risk’ in coaching

The Air Power has begun changing Eielson Air Power Base’s growing old fleet of F-16’s with upgraded fashions of the fighter jet. The primary two of the newer jets arrived final week.

The 2 newer F-16 Preventing Falcons are each about 35 years outdated, a few years youthful than the jets they’ll change. Extra importantly, the incoming F-16s have avionics that have been up to date 5 years in the past, practically a decade after than the outdated jets acquired their final improve.

“So, it’s nonetheless the identical airframe and engine,” says Lt. Col. Albert Roper, the commander of Eielson’s 18th Aggressor Squadron. “Nonetheless, with the rise in methods capabilities improve, a few of the software program, the processors, all that has been changed.”

Ricardo Sandoval/354th Fighter Wing public affairs


18th Aggressor Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Albert Roper flashes a mission-accomplished gesture after flying one of many F-16s up from Alabama. Capt. Daniel Simpson, one other pilot with the squadron, flew the opposite jet.

Roper says the upgraded jets will allow his unit to higher prepare U.S. and allied pilots to struggle adversaries’ superior plane, together with so-called Fifth-Era fighters, akin to Eielson’s F-35s and the F-22s primarily based at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson.

“Our each day coaching right here is interplay with native Fifth-Gen plane right here within the state of Alaska, each F-22s from down there at JBER after which with the F-35s right here at Eielson Air Power Base, so as to maintain them operationally proficient and combat-ready,” he stated in an interview Thursday.

Roper’s unit is named the Aggressor Squadron as a result of its pilots typically play the position of adversaries throughout coaching workout routines held yearly out of Eielson and JBER. These embody Purple Flag and Northern Edge, each of that are performed within the skies above the 65-thousand-square-mile Joint Pacific Alaska Vary Complicated, a sequence of ranges unfold across the state.

“The mission of the Aggressors is to know the risk,” he stated. “We educate that risk to our fight aircrews and their associate nations. After which we replicate that risk within the plane.”

Roper says that coaching will proceed over the following a number of months, with each the brand new and outdated F-16s. He says throughout that point, two or three of the newer jets will arrive each few weeks, and two or three of the older ones will then fly their closing missions to the Plane Upkeep and Regeneration Middle at Davis-Monthan Air Power Base in southern Arizona — the so-called Boneyard, the place plane are saved earlier than being offered, repurposed or recycled.

“By August or September of this yr,” he stated, “hopefully the transition’s been accomplished and we’ve acquired our newer jets right here and the opposite ones are down within the Boneyard mothballed-away.”

Roper says all 19 of the squadron’s F-16s shall be changed with the newer jets.

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