Slovakia's new F-16s to be based in United States for training needs

Slovak F16 based Morris
First Slovak F-16 Block 70 lands at the Lockheed Martin manufacturing facility in Greenville, South Carolina after completing its maiden flight.

The U.S. Air Force said in mid-November that Morris Air National Guard Base, Arizona, will host up to nine Slovakian-owned F-16 jets for training needs. The aircraft will be temporarily stationed in the United States starting in spring 2024 through 2026 at the 162nd Wing. This choice was made to speed up the training of Slovakian officers to operate the Lockheed Martin fighter.

The first Slovakian F-16 Block 70 (serial 1001) conducted its maiden flight on September 29, 2023. The flight occurred at the Lockheed Martin manufacturing facility in Greenville, South Carolina, with test pilot Ryan "Cujo" Blake which conducted multiple tests on the system to validate performance and supersonic capabilities during flight.

Slovakia ordered 14 F-16V Block 70/72 aircraft (12 single-seat and 2 two-seat) in the summer of 2018. The first four aircraft are expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2024. Slovakia will be the first European to receive the advanced F-16 Block 70.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Lockheed Martin

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