The active duty 4th Fighter Squadron, part of the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB, Utah, will deploy to Southwest Asia employing—for the first time for the wing—the new Sniper targeting pods on its F-16s. And, the unit’s cohorts—airmen of Air Force Reserve Command’s 419th FW at Hill—are joining the deployment. The 419th recently gave up its own Vipers and now forms an associate unit to the 388th. This will mark the first time the two units have deployed together. “The Reservists bring a lot of combat and F-16 experience,” says Lt. Col. Andrew Hecht, 4th FS commander, and adds, “This will definitely improve our performance during the deployment.” During the past year, the 388th F-16s received the Sniper upgrade and new radios, as part of the Air Force’s Common Configuration Implementation Program, reports SrA. Stefanie Torres. Other F-16 units already have used the Sniper in Southwest Asia operations.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.