New F-16s arrive at the 148th Fighter Wing

Three F-16C Block 50 Fighting Falcons from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany arrive at the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base, Duluth, Minn. Apr. 27, 2010. The aircraft are the first block 50 F-16s to arrive at the wing as the unit becomes the first Air National Guard unit to convert to the block 50 aircraft from Active Duty Air Force.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett R. Ewald/Released)

Three F-16C Block 50 Fighting Falcons from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany arrive at the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base, Duluth, Minn. Apr. 27, 2010. The aircraft are the first block 50 F-16s to arrive at the wing as the unit becomes the first Air National Guard unit to convert to the block 50 aircraft from Active Duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett R. Ewald/Released)

An F-16C Block 50 Fighting Falcon from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany arrives at the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base, Duluth, Minn. Apr. 27, 2010. The aircraft is one of the first block 50 F-16s to arrive at the wing as the unit becomes the first Air National Guard unit to convert to the block 50 aircraft from Active Duty Air Force.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett R. Ewald/Released)

An F-16C Block 50 Fighting Falcon from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany arrives at the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base, Duluth, Minn. Apr. 27, 2010. The aircraft is one of the first block 50 F-16s to arrive at the wing as the unit becomes the first Air National Guard unit to convert to the block 50 aircraft from Active Duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett R. Ewald/Released)

U.S. Air Force Colonel John Spencer, Jr., Vice Wing Commander, greats Maj. Matt Gynn as F-16C Block 50 Fighting Falcons from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany arrive at the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base, Duluth, Minn. Apr. 27, 2010. The aircraft is one of the first block 50 F-16s to arrive at the wing as the unit becomes the first Air National Guard unit to convert to the block 50 aircraft from Active Duty Air Force.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett R. Ewald/Released)

U.S. Air Force Colonel John Spencer, Jr., Vice Wing Commander, greats Maj. Matt Gynn as F-16C Block 50 Fighting Falcons from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany arrive at the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base, Duluth, Minn. Apr. 27, 2010. The aircraft is one of the first block 50 F-16s to arrive at the wing as the unit becomes the first Air National Guard unit to convert to the block 50 aircraft from Active Duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett R. Ewald/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Reed Bowman talks to local media as F-16C Block 50 Fighting Falcons from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany arrive at the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base, Duluth, Minn. Apr. 27, 2010. The aircraft is one of the first block 50 F-16s to arrive at the wing as the unit becomes the first Air National Guard unit to convert to the block 50 aircraft from Active Duty Air Force.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett R. Ewald/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Reed Bowman talks to local media as F-16C Block 50 Fighting Falcons from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany arrive at the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base, Duluth, Minn. Apr. 27, 2010. The aircraft is one of the first block 50 F-16s to arrive at the wing as the unit becomes the first Air National Guard unit to convert to the block 50 aircraft from Active Duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett R. Ewald/Released)

DULUTH, Minn. -- The first wave of F-16C Block 50 Fighting Falcon aircraft arrived at the 148th Fighter Wing (FW) today, Tuesday, April 27.

The F-16s will be transferred from the 22nd Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. The conversion from the Wing's current F-16 Block 25 to the new Block 50 aircraft will take approximately 18 to 24 months. Pilots and aircraft maintenance personnel are currently attending technical training for the new aircraft.

The 148th FW is the first Air National Guard Wing to convert to the Block 50 from the active duty Air Force. This aircraft boasts an improved engine with more thrust as well as enhancements to the aircraft structure and avionics. It also includes a greater computer capacity for future upgrades and improvements.

In 2005, the 148th FW was slated for re-alignment and retirement of its current F-16 fleet as part of the Air Force Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommendations. The newer F-16s provide updated technologies that will give the Wing ready capabilities beyond 2020.

Additional waves of aircraft will continue to arrive throughout April and May.