FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): This afternoon, leaders with the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base announced that they will be receiving 18, F-16, Block 40 Fighting Falcons to replace the A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft they currently fly and maintain.
Returning to the F-16 allows the 122nd to remain in fighters until the unit can vie for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Col. David Augustine, 122nd Fighter Wing Commander, said, “Our strategic goal remains to bring the JSF to Fort Wayne. Although we’ll hate to see our A-10s depart, this is the right mission at the right time to bridge us to the Joint Strike Fighter! Our rich history in the F-16 will once again return.”
The announcement was made as part of the release of the president’s budget for fiscal year 2015.
Governor Mike Pence says, “I’m determined to focus our energy on the future of the 122nd Fighter Wing and the men and women that serve our state and our nation. The F-16 is a perfect bridge mission to the Joint Strike Fighter, which Indiana is determined to bring to Fort Wayne.”
“For nearly seventy years, Fort Wayne has been home to fighter planes and I’m proud the F-16’s will keep it that way,” said U.S. Congressman Stutzman. “Thanks to Governor Pence, General Umbarger, and Hoosier leaders, we made the case that the 122nd Fighter Wing’s battle-tested capabilities are a cost-effective and strategic asset. I’m pleased that the Air Force agrees.”
The Fort Wayne Air National Guard base is home to the 122nd Fighter Wing, which currently consists of 21 A-10 aircraft. As the A-10’s are phased out by the Air Force, the 122nd Fighter Wing will begin a new mission with F-16’s by the end of the decade.