Luke AFB is situated near the city of Glendale about 24km west of Phoenix / Arizona. The Base was build in 1941 and the first aircraft type to be based here was the AT-6. During history Luke saw a lot of different aircraft locally based. The first jets arrived in 1953 with the F-84C Thunderjet. Is was the same year when the famous USAF Thunderbirs aerial demonstration squadron was established here flying F-84G aircraft. The Thunderjets were followed by the F-100 Super Sabre, A-7 Corsair II , F-5 Tiger II and F-4 Phantom fighter jets. Between 1969 and 1982 there were also two F-104 squadrons based at Luke -training new F-104G pilots for Germany´s Luftwaffe aswell as other european air forces. The last aicraft type operating out of Luke before becomming an all F-16 base was the F-15 Eagle in differnet variants.The base currently houses 6 active duty and 1 reserve fighter squadrons of various F-16 models totalling about 170 airframes. However the drawdown of the F-16 force will begin soon as the first F-35A Lightning II has already arrived at the base.
Luke AFB currently is a training base and is operated on behalf the the USAF Air Education and training Command -AETC!
In Addition to superb weather conditions year round the Pilots have the advantage of the huge Barry M. Goldwater Range in close proximity. All kinds of Air to Air and Air to Ground missions can be flown here. Dropping of live ammunition is also an option at the Range and this is why a lot of different F16 loading configurations can be seen on a daily basis.
F-16D #89-2164 of 3010th FS returning with an empty set if LAU131 rocket launchers.
The 21st FS „Gamblers“uses the oldest F-16 on Base. The A and B models are operated by the Republic of China Air Force (Taiwan). They can be recognized by the red and white Tailband.
425th FS „Black Widows“ operates F-16 C/D Block 52 on behalf of the Republic of Singapore Air Force. Unfortunately no aircraft could be observed during our visit.
The 62nd FS „Spikes“ operates F-16 C and D models and is based at Luke AFB since the squadrons relocation from McDill AFB/Florida in 1993/1994.
308th FS „Emerald Knights“ was relocated from Homestead AFB /Florida afte Hurricane Andrew destroyed the base in 1992. After a temporary home at Moody AFB the squadron arrived at Luke in 1994.
309th FS „Wild Ducks“ with it´s blue and white Tailband has a similar history as 308th squadron. It was also relocated from Homestead AFB to Luke in 1994.
The 310th FS “ Tophats“ was one of the first squadrons to transition to the F-16 in 1983. Flying the F-4 until then the 310 FS operated the first production model of the F-16 ever #78-0001!
One of two visiting KC-135´s from KcConnel AFB near Wichita in Kansas on that day