|148th Fighter Squadron|
148th Fighter Squadron 4-aircraft F-16 formation
|Branch||Air National Guard|
|Role||Foreign Military Sales pilot training|
|Part of||Arizona Air National Guard|
The 148th Fighter Squadron (148 FS) is a unit of the Arizona Air National Guard 162d Fighter Wing located at Tucson Air National Guard Base, Arizona. The 148th is equipped with the Block 20 F-16A/B Fighting Falcon.
The 148th Fighter Squadron specializes in the training of F-16 pilots for foreign air forces which have purchased the aircraft via the Foreign Military Sales program.
Pennsylvania Air National GuardEdit
In 1946, the 148th was a Pennsylvania Air National Guard unit, allocated to Air Defense Command (ADC) as a Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. The 148th FIS was stationed at Reading Municipal Airport, Pennsylvania, equipped with F-51D Mustangs with an air defense mission for Southeastern Pennsylvania and Philadelphia.
With the end of the line for the Mustang in USAF service, the United States Air Force, in an effort to upgrade to an all jet fighter force, required Air National Guard Air Defense Command units to upgrade to jet-powered aircraft. The Reading Airport Commission and National Guard authorities found themselves in a conflict over the use of Reading Municipal Airport for tactical jet operations. Unable to resolve these differences the Air Force inactivated the 148th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 30 June 1956.
However, the National Guard Bureau's and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's desire to retain the unit brought a new mission and a numeric designation to the organization, the 140th Aeromedical Transport Squadron which was allotted to the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, and activated on 1 July 1956 using propeller-driven aircraft. The 140th ATS was bestowed the lineage and history of the inactivated Pennsylvania ANG 148th Fighter Interceptor Squadron.
Arizona Air National GuardEdit
Designation transferred by the National Guard Bureau to the Arizona Air National Guard on 15 October 1985 and re-designated as the 148th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron. The 148th TFTS was established as a new organization, with no historical lineage to the previous 148th FIS.
Assigned to the 162d Tactical Fighter Training Group at Tucson International Airport, Arizona. The 148th TFTS was tasked with pilot training for the foreign air forces as part of the Foreign Military Sales program, although the squadron has also been tasked with training F-16 crew for the USAF and the Air National Guard both advanced and beginner training. Through the years numerous countries have detached personnel to receive advanced training by the squadron.
The first to make use of these was the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNlAF). Training used a mix of USAF F-16 as well as some Dutch F-16s. Eventually a total of eight RNlAF F-16s were on hand. These Dutch aircraft were hard to tell apart from the USAF as they had the same markings and where the same blocks. In 1991, the squadron was officially tasked a NATO F-16 training mission which was not much of a departure from the norm. Re-designated as the 148th Fighter Squadron on 15 March 1992 and the training role continued. By May 1995 all the RNlAF F-16s had departed Tucson for their native country.
In 2003 another contract was signed that included detaching foreign F-16s. These new F-16s would be the E/F models of the United Arab Emirates Air Force. It wasn't till 2 September 2004 that UAE students were able to train with the F-16E/F when it arrived at Tucson. Most pilots came from Mirage 2000 or the Hawk. The first class of graduates was made complete in April 2005. During the course of 2010 these aircraft returned to the UAE to form a new fighter squadron. The relationship ended on 20 October 2010 with over 100 UAE F-16 pilots trained. The last aircraft departed for UAE during December.
2010 saw a new contract with the RNlAF. The Dutch already had a detachment with the 162d Fighter Squadron of the Ohio Air National Guard. This unit was to lose its F-16 task and so the Dutch needed to search for another training site. The USAF then proposed the 148th FS. So an influx of Dutch F-16AM/BM airframes began December 2010. The first class of about ten pilots graduated in late April 2011.
- 347th Fighter Squadron redesignated 148th Fighter Squadron. Allotted to Pennsylvania Air National Guard on 24 May 1946.
- Allocation to Pennsylvania ANG withdrawn, 1985
- Re-designated 148th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, and allotted to Arizona ANG, 1985
- Extended federal recognition and activated, 15 October 1985
- Re-designated: 148th Fighter Squadron on 15 March 1992
- 162d Tactical Fighter Training Group, 15 October 1985
- 162d Fighter Group, 15 March 1992
- 162d Operations Group, 11 October 1995 – Present
- Tucson International Airport, Arizona, 10 October 1985
- Designated: Tucson Air National Guard Base, Arizona, 1991 – present
- Block 20 F-16A/B Fighting Falcon, 1985 – present
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