148th Fighter Wing Will Get New Fighter Jets

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 22nd Fighter Squadron line a ramp Nov. 20 here. The 22nd and 81st Fighter Squadrons participated in Operation Saber Crown 10-02, which tested the 52nd Fighter Wing’s capabilities to operate during a real-world contingency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nathanael Callon)

148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. is slated to receive F-16 Block 50 aircraft from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Here, F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 22nd Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany line a ramp Nov. 20, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nathanael Callon)

F-16s from the 23rd Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, fly over Iraq. The 23rd is in its fourth month of their deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jeff Stoermer)

148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. is slated to receive F-16 Block 50 aircraft from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. An F-16 from the 23rd Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem AB, Germany flis over Iraq May 23, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jeff Stoermer)

F-16s from the 23rd Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, fly over Iraq. The 23rd is in its fourth month of their deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jeff Stoermer)

148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. is slated to receive F-16 Block 50 aircraft from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. An F-16 from the 23rd Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem AB, Germany flis over Iraq May 23, 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jeff Stoermer)

DULUTH, Minn. -- The 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. will receive Block 50 F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft between mid-April to late-May 2010.

The F-16s will be transferred to the 148th  from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany making the Duluth based fighter wing the first Air National Guard Wing to convert to the Block 50 aircraft from active duty Air Force. 

The newer F-16s provide newer technologies that will provide ready capabilities beyond 2020.  This aircraft also boasts an improved engine with more thrust as well as enhancements to the aircraft structure.  It also includes a greater computer capacity for future upgrades and improvements.

This conversion will take approximately 18 to 24 months after the Block 50 aircraft arrive in Duluth.  Pilots, engine mechanics and other aircraft maintenance personnel will attend technical training.  They will also require extensive on-the-job training to become proficient at flying and maintaining the new aircraft.

"I'm excited about the conversion." stated Col. Frank Stokes, 148th Fighter Wing Commander.  "Receiving these aircraft validates the hard work and dedication of our wing members and the continued support of our community leaders and elected officials.  We are looking forward to continuing the Bulldog's 'Proud Tradition'."