Ogden Delivers Last Two Upgraded T-Birds

The Ogden Air Logistics Center in Utah has completed upgrades to the last two Block 52 F-16s, turning them over to the Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team on Nov. 17. The Thunderbirds now have a complete set of 10 modified Block 52 fighters, replacing their Block 32 versions, ready for the 2009 flying season. That’s actually a year ahead of schedule for a process that began in mid-2006. The “new” F-16s have advanced avionics and a more powerful Pratt & Whitney engine, improvements which are expected to not only expand the performance capability but also provide improved reliability and maintainability. Brig. Gen. Stephen Hoog, head of the US Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis AFB, Nev., home to the Thunderbirds, was on hand to fly one of the F-16s from Hill Air Force Base to Nellis. He praised the “tremendous efforts and support” of the ALC team. Next step for Ogden is to convert the 10 retired Block 32 Thunderbird F-16s from their aerial demo configuration back to a combat-coded aircraft and making the avionics and structural upgrades before sending them back to Nellis to form part of the AFWC’s aggressor force. (Hill report by Lee Ann Hensley)