- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - The F-16 is returning to the Indiana Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne.

The Guard announced Tuesday the base had been selected by the Air Force to receive 18 F-16 Fighting Falcons to replace the A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft currently based in Fort Wayne. The Pentagon’s proposed 2015 budget proposes cutting the A-10s and replacing them with F-16s.

The 122nd Fighter Wing flew F-16s from 1991 until 2010, when they were replaced by A-10Cs, which are used to support ground troops.

The 122nd Fighter Wing’s commander, Col. David Augustine, says the base’s strategic goal is to eventually bring the U.S. military’s next-generation fighter jet, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, to Fort Wayne. Gov. Mike Pence calls the F-16 the “perfect bridge mission” to the F-35.

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