Pacific Air Forces has deployed Block 50 F-16s from the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa AB, Japan, to Iraq, marking the first time for Block 50 Vipers to operate in Iraq, according to an Air Force release. The 14th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron now serves as a third fighter squadron assigned to Balad AB, Iraq. The Block 50 F-16s offer an improved data link, along with other advances. Misawa deployed some 250 pilots and maintainers to Balad.
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.