Ohio Air Guard Unit Upgrades F-16s

Airmen with the Ohio Air National Guard’s 178th Fighter Wing in Springfield are upgrading the radios in 160 Air Guard F-16 Block 30 airplanes so that the pilots of these Vipers will have the connectivity to communicate beyond line of sight. That’ll be a key capability in places like Afghanistan where mountainous terrain can make communication difficult if limited to line-of-sight transmissions. The BLOS upgrade will enable troops on the ground to “call the airplane directly” and “get real-time help” from the F-16s, said SMSgt. Phil Bennett, the project manager. The wing’s goal is to complete upgrades to 90 F-16s by the end of the fiscal year. Springfield lost its F-16 training mission as part of BRAC 2005 and is transitioning to new missions that will include operating MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft in combat zones. (Springfield report by SrA. Amy Adducchio)