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USAF Red Devils Squadron Arrives in Middle East

Devil’s Due

The New Jersey Air National Guard’s 119th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron has arrived in U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility—namely, the Middle East—with an additional F-16 Fighting Falcon squadron, thereby bolstering U.S. presence in the region and deterring further jihadist aggression.

The Atlantic City-based squadron, known colloquially as the Jersey Devils, now aligned under 9th Air Force, afford coalition leaders added flexibility vis-à-vis air operations throughout the Middle East, including contingency response capabilities and deterrence missions, while maintaining Operation Inherent Resolve’s stated Defeat-ISIS mission.

USAF Lieutenant General and 9th Air Force and Combined Forces Air Component Command commander Alexus G. Grynkewich stated: “We are fortunate to have the 119th EFS join us in U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility. Air National Guard Airmen bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our mission in the Middle East. The arrival of these Airmen strengthens our ability to support our allied, coalition and regional partners as we work together to enhance regional stability and security.”

The USAF has operated General Dynamics’s F-16 Fighting Falcon for upwards of forty-years. Fast, robust, and superbly agile, the aircraft is capable of carrying a wide variety of munitions, the more potent of which include the AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile and the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAM).

The F-16—by dint of its single Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 afterburning turbofan engine—boasts a maximum speed of Mach 2.05 (1,366.8-knots), a combat range of 295-nautical-miles, a ferry-range of 2,277-nautical-miles, and a service-ceiling of FL500. In addition to the antecedent missile systems and a formidable collection of rockets, bombs, and targeting pods, the F-16 sports a single 20-millimeter M61A1 Vulcan six-barrel rotary-cannon.

The Jersey Devils’ presence in U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility ensures U.S. and coalition forces are better able to establish air superiority in contested airspace.

The Ninth Air Force currently operates three F-16 squadrons, two A-10 Thunderbolt II squadrons, and one F-15E Strike Eagle squadron alongside several strategic airlift, aerial refueling, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms. 

FMI: www.af.mil

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