The F-16 Fighting Falcon military aircraft is returning to Fort Wayne’s Air National Guard Base, replacing the A-10 Thunderbolt II currently stationed there. The 122nd Fighter Wing has been approved for conversion to the F-16 as part of the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.
The move was first proposed five years ago.
According to our partners at WPTA-TV, the F-16 Fighting Falcon flew for nearly two decades at the Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base from 1991-2010.
“This newer more versatile aircraft will provide for an increase in combat capability against growing threats. The men and women of the 122nd Fighter Wing are experts at supporting, maintaining and operating fighter aircraft,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Stohler, commander of the Indiana Air National Guard. “This transition will provide them with longevity and the high probability to later upgrade to the future generation of fighter aircraft.”
The Air National Guard says there are 21 A-10s in Fort Wayne. The older aircraft will be retired, while others will be transferred to other units.
“The A-10 had unrivaled capabilities for the wars of the last 40 years and our record as Blacksnakes proves that point,” said Col. Joshua C. Waggoner, 122nd Fighter Wing Commander. “To win future conflicts, we need new aircraft that provide different effects on the battlefield. The F-16 will prepare the men and women of the 122nd to find the same success in the future that we established as our standard in the past.”
President signed the Defense Authorization bill on Dec. 23, clearing the way for the transition at the Fort Wayne base.