104th Fighter Wing Reaches Initial Operating Capability in F-15

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On Feb. 1, 2010, the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base will officially complete its conversion from the A/O-10 Aircraft to the F-15C/D Aircraft, reaching its initial operating capability in the F-15 aircraft.

Since November 2005, the 104th Fighter Wing has been officially in "conversion status" following the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Committee recommendation that the units A-10s be redistributed throughout the combat Air Force and inherit the F-15 mission.

Following the BRAC decision, the base has undergone significant change to include the investment of $45 million in construction and modernization programs to prepare the unit for its new air dominance mission. Part of that new mission includes the air sovereignty alert (ASA) mission, which is a critical part of homeland defense. These two missions allow the 104th Fighter Wing the capability and resources to support overseas operations, as well as, monitor the skies of our Northeast territory.

According to Col. Robert Brooks, Commander of the 104th Fighter Wing, reaching the initial operational capability is one of the most important milestones this unit has accomplished in the past five years. "We have all been working very hard to be IOC and as a result of our training and effort, we are prepared to succeed in our new mission."

The entire unit will now be postured in the same state of readiness it was in during the A-10 era: able and ready to deploy if called to service.

Maintaining this status requires frequent testing of the equipment and personnel. The first major inspection will occur in February with an Alert Force Evaluation, and follow with an Operational Readiness Inspection in June 2011.


Background: The 2005 BRAC decision realigned many missions throughout the DOD and subsequently relocated the 104th FW's A-10s to units throughout the Combat Air Force, it also relocated the 102nd FW's Air Dominance mission in Cape Cod to the 104th FW in Westfield Mass. The 102nd Fighter Wing was renamed the 102nd Intelligence Wing through its realignment, operating a Distributed Ground Station, which supports Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The 104th FW has continually supported contingency operations overseas by means of providing expeditionary combat support to active/guard/reserve units in multiple AORs. Since 2005, the 104th FW has deployed over 300 men and women supporting missions in over 30 countries including: Afghanistan, Iraq, Spain, Germany, Italy, UAE, Africa, etc.

The 104th FW is scheduled to stand-up its alert mission on 15 February, allowing for rapid response to any airborne threat in the North East Air Sector. The 158th FW of the Vermont Air National Guard has served as the North East's alert site since the 102nd stood down in 2006.