Aerial Warfare

Morris Air National Guard Base Receives Initial Delivery of Slovak F-16 Block 70 Aircraft

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Morris Air National Guard Base Receives Initial Delivery of Slovak F-16 Block 70 Aircraft

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Morris Air National Guard Base Receives Initial Delivery of Slovak F-16 Block 70 Aircraft
Morris Air National Guard Base Receives Initial Delivery of Slovak F-16 Block 70 Aircraft

The Morris Air National Guard Base (ANGB) is home to the Air National Guard’s premier F-16 fighter pilot training unit, the 162nd Wing, providing training for coalition war-fighting partners for the United States Air Force and international allies, which is why the Department of the Air Force selected Morris ANGB to receive up to nine Slovak-owned F-16 Block 70s. The first Block 70 aircraft arrived here, June 13. Beyond this initial delivery of Slovak F-16s to Morris ANGB for training, two additional jets will arrive in Slovakia later this summer to begin in-country operations. The First F-16s with Block 70 capabilities to operate in Europe. The Slovakia Republic Minister of Defense established an intensive commission on the selection of the aircraft to replace the obsolete MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters.

“As the Slovakian air force prepares its air bases to receive their newly acquired F-16 Block 70s, it was determined that the most advantageous location to base their first aircraft was Morris ANGB. This will enable the first Slovakian F-16 pilots to train on their own aircraft prior to delivering them to their home nation. The F-16 Block 70 is the latest edition of one of the most combat proven fighter jets of all time. It includes an advanced APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array [AESA] fire control radar, a high-resolution Center Pedestal Display, which provides critical tactical imagery to pilots and allows them to take full advantage of AESA and targeting pod data, advanced weapons integration, and an extended structural life of 12,000 hours– more than 50 percent beyond that of previous production F-16 aircraft,” said Col. Thomas Obrochta, 162nd Operations Group commander.

The first Slovak-owned F-16 Block 70 arrives at Morris Air National Guard Base, Ariz., June 13, 2024. The F-16 Block 70 includes an advanced APG83 Active Electronically Scanned Array [AESA] fire control radar, high-resolution Center Pedestal Display; which provides critical tactical imagery to pilots and allows them to take full advantage of AESA and targeting pod, advanced weapons integration, and an extended structural life of 12,000 hours. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Guadalupe Beltran)
The first Slovak-owned F-16 Block 70 arrives at Morris Air National Guard Base, Ariz., June 13, 2024. The F-16 Block 70 includes an advanced APG83 Active Electronically Scanned Array [AESA] fire control radar, high-resolution Center Pedestal Display; which provides critical tactical imagery to pilots and allows them to take full advantage of AESA and targeting pod, advanced weapons integration, and an extended structural life of 12,000 hours. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Guadalupe Beltran)

“The process of selecting new fighter aircraft began in 2015. The fifth generation F-16 Block 70 aircraft fulfilled all our ideas and the entire spectrum of our tasks. So far, 11 pilots have been trained for the F-16 Block 70. Pilots in the training program at other air bases in the U.S. must all come to the 162nd Wing to retrain for the highest type of aircraft, the F-16 Block 70,” said Col. Adolf Ulicny, Slovakia Foreign Liaison Officer.

“The cadre of Slovakian F-16 pilots underwent an initial basic course covering air-to-air and air-to-ground tactics. After they completed the basic course, they then seasoned and built the hours required for the Flight Lead upgrade and some continuing to season for the instructor pilot upgrade to be able to go back to Slovakia and start their own F-16 operations. It has been a pleasure to watch them grow in their tactics, understanding and realization that they are the ones who will be working together to safeguard Slovakia,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Hodges, squadron commander when Slovakian cadre of pilots started.

The F-16 is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft, and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. The latest version F-16 Block 70 offers unparalleled capabilities. The initial cadre of Slovakian F-16 pilots have been training at Morris ANGB for the last two years. According to Obrochta, the 162nd Wing is committed to providing the highest quality training to international military personnel instilled with sound piloting skills. The Slovakia air force modernization acquisition of the F-16 Block 70 aircraft aims to bolster Slovakia’s defense capability, capacity and competence, strengthening bilateral defense operation, and increase interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces. Some Slovak-owned F-16 Block 70s will be temporarily stationed in the United States through fiscal year 2026 at the 162nd Wing, with others beginning operations in Slovakia later this year.

A U.S. Air National Guard servicemember assigned to the 162nd Wing marshals in the first Slovak-owned F-16 Block 70 at Morris Air National Guard Base, Ariz., June 13, 2024. The Morris ANGB is home to the Air National Guard's premier F-16 fighter pilot training unit, the 162nd Wing, providing training for coalition war-fighting partners for the United States Air Force and international allies. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Guadalupe Beltran)
A U.S. Air National Guard servicemember assigned to the 162nd Wing marshals in the first Slovak-owned F-16 Block 70 at Morris Air National Guard Base, Ariz., June 13, 2024. The Morris ANGB is home to the Air National Guard’s premier F-16 fighter pilot training unit, the 162nd Wing, providing training for coalition war-fighting partners for the United States Air Force and international allies. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Guadalupe Beltran)

“,” said Hodges.

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