The sight of F-16s landing at Tucson International Airport, Ariz., with drag chutes means that the Dutch are back. After a three-year absence, a contingent of Dutch pilots is training again with the Air National Guard’s 162nd Fighter Wing. The Dutch employ the drag chutes on their F-16s as a safety feature for short field landings and adverse weather conditions. The Air Guard F-16s stationed there don’t use drag chutes. The Dutch began returning to Tucson in late October, following the conclusion of the United Arab Emirates’ F-16 training mission. The Dutch trained in Tucson for 18 years before spending the past three with the Ohio ANG’s 178th FW in Springfield. Dutch training activities at Tucson are expected to be in full swing come January. The Dutch will station 14 of their F-16s there. (Tucson release) (See also earlier Tucson release)
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.