US Air Force 354th Fighter Wing Begins Updates to F-16 Fighting Falcon Fighter Fleet
The U.S. Air Force 354th Fighter Wing accepted delivery of its first two F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft acquired from Dannelly Field Air National Guard Base, Alabama, January 12, 2023. These aircraft are the first scheduled to arrive throughout 2023 to replace the aircraft currently assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron. The upgraded avionics in the aircraft allow the Aggressors to replicate advanced threats and provide realistic training to Department of Defense and partner nation aircrews in exercises like RED FLAG-Alaska. The 354th Fighter Wing is a United States Air Force wing that is part of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF).
“The Air Force is using a great opportunity to recapitalize investments made by the National Guard and upgrade the capabilities of the current Aggressor fleet. This is going to provide more capability and realism so that the aircraft and the pilots that are being trained here in the JPARC (Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex) can have a better adversary and they can train to a higher quality threat. The updated aircraft are going to amplify their efforts and produce even more valuable training to all of our partners and allies,” said Lt. Col. Chad Richards, 354th Operations Group deputy commander.
It is the host wing at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, and is assigned to the Eleventh Air Force (11 AF). All 354th Fighter Wing Aircraft carry the tail code “AK”. The 355 FS was inactivated in August 2007 as a result of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005 action and all A-10 aircraft were reassigned to other USAF units. The 18 FS was redesignated as the 18th Aggressor Squadron (18 AGRS) and remains at Eielson, operating the F-16 in an adversary role. Prior to its move to Alaska, the 354 FW was based for more than 35 years at the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina.
Eielson Air Force Base (IATA: EIL, ICAO: PAEI, FAA LID: EIL) is a United States Air Force (USAF) base located approximately 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska and just southeast of Moose Creek, Alaska. It was established in 1943 as Mile 26 Satellite Field and redesignated Eielson Air Force Base on 13 January 1948. It has been a Superfund site since 1989. Eielson AFB was named in honor of polar pilot Carl Ben Eielson. Combined with the more than 75,000 square miles of airspace in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, Eielson is a hub of training for advanced airpower operations.