Expect official word today that the 18th Fighter Squadron, Eielson AFB, Alaska, will be converted into the 18th Aggressor Squadron in October 2007. Plans call for the Air Force to make a formal announcement, according to a message sent out by Lt. Gen. Douglas M. Fraser, commander of 11th Air Force. Officials had hinted earlier this year that Pacific Air Forces would get its own aggressor force as part of Red Flag-Alaska, the newly renamed Cope Thunder. The 18th FS will give up its Block 40 F-16s and revert to Block 30 F-16s in its new role. Officials expect the unit to support its first Red Flag-Alaska in spring 2008.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.