Duluth Gets First F-16 Block 50 Airplane

The Minnesota Air National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth held a ceremony on April 30 to celebrate the arrival of its first F-16 Block 50 aircraft three days prior. The unit is scheduled to receive 20 Block 50 aircraft from the 22nd Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, by the end of May. Spangdahlem is shedding some of its F-16s as part of USAF’s legacy fighter drawdown. The Block 50s are replacing Duluth’s current F-16 Block 25s, which are being retired. The 148 FW is the first Air Guard wing to switch to Block 50s passed on from the active duty ranks and becomes the second Air Guard unit behind South Carolina’s 169th Fighter Wing to fly this F-16 model. Among their improvements compared to Block 25s, Block 50 aircraft feature higher thrust engines. (Duluth report by 2nd Lt. Jodi L. Kiminski)