F-16s returned to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from Kandahar Airfield for the first time in almost two years earlier this week. The close air support F-16s swapped bases with A-10s from Kandahar in February 2012, while the Bagram runway was under construction. Since A-10s required a shorter take-off roll, the shift allowed workers to rework the runway. “The runway was reaching the end of its service life, so we had to take apart approximately 90 feet of the asphalt and re-lay it,” said Lt. Col. Scott Hoffman, Bagram’s 455th Operations Support Squadron commander, in a release. “We were able to transition to the temporary runway and then back to the main runway without any impact to the [air tasking orders],” added Hoffman. Despite construction, Bagram managed 92,000 sorties during the 121-day project, according to officials. Air Force Reserve Command F-16s deployed from JRB Fort Worth, Tex., touched down at Bagram Dec. 15. (See also Hot Present, Uncertain Future from the September 2012 edition of Air Force Magazine)
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.