The Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Wing is hosting the 21st Fighter Squadron out of Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, to conduct dissimilar air combat training (DACT) from July 15-30. The 21st Fighter Squadron’s F-16 Vipers will fly in collaborative exercises with the 142nd Wing’s F-15 Eagles during the two-weeks of DACT. This specified training provides realistic combat scenarios for pilots to hone advanced aerial tactics that may be used against potential adversaries.
The 21st Fighter Squadron is part of the 56th Operations Group at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. It is a United States Air Force squadron that operates Taiwanese-owned General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft conducting fighter and maintenance training for the pilots and maintainers of the Republic of China Air Force. The 21st Fighter Squadron, ‘The Gamblers’, operate the Block 20 F-16A/B for the Republic of China Air Force, under a three-year pilot training program called ‘Peace Fenghuang’.
The 21st Fighter Squadron is the only squadron at Luke Air Force Base to operate the original F-16 variant, which are unusual in being 93 fiscal year serial new build Block 20 aircraft. A program to train instructor pilots is also in place. The first class of pilots graduated in July 1997 and the first instructor pilots graduated in June 1998. The squadron is to hone combat skills for ROCAF and USAF pilots to peak readiness.
For students, the flying involves amassing fifty flights, starting with basic maneuvers to more advanced combat in both aerial engagements and bombing tactics. The exercise is an essential and required component to ensure military readiness in support of the base’s national and state missions. Dissimilar air combat training (DACT) provides multiple readiness benefits for the 142nd Wing and other U.S. Air Force companion units.