On 26 June 2023, it was announced that the 190th Fighter Squadron "Skullbangers", part of the 124th Fighter Wing at Gowen Field Air National Guard Base near Boise (ID), is expected to transition to the F-16C/D Fighting Falcon.
The transition will better align the Department of the Air Force to support the National Defense Strategy and will allow the 190th FS/124th FW to leverage existing fighter aircraft operations and maintenance expertise once its A-10C Thunderbolt IIs retire, beginning fall 2026.
The decision to host the Fighting Falcon mission at Gowen Field ANGB came after assessing the area’s ability to facilitate the mission and infrastructure capacity, while accounting for community support, environmental factors and cost.
It is expected that F-16C/Ds are beginning to arrive during the spring of 2027. This, after the completion of an environmental impact analysis. The analysis is expected to be completed in spring 2025. Becoming obsolete, it is expected that many USAF Thunderbolt IIs will have to leave the field in the coming years. This, in favour of newly inducted aircraft types like the Sky Warden/Longsword. See the Scramble Magazine news items of 8 August 2022 and 28 April 2023.
Recently, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) announced that it will allow the Air Force to retire 42 A-10Cs as part of the 2024 National Defense Authorisation Act. On 5 March 2021, Scramble Magazine wrote about USAF's charm offensive with its Thunderbolt II. This probably worked out well and has given the Thunderbolt II a longer lifespan.
Credit photo: USAF