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Hill Air Force Base transitioning from F-16 to F-35

HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- Out with the old and in with the new!

Hill Air Force Base is saying good-bye to its F-16s and flying in the newest and most technologically advanced fighter jet available: the F-35.

Eight of the base's F-16s took off for Spain a couple of weeks ago for a tactical leadership program with the United States' NATO partners.

"The F-16s are going to Nevada and New Mexico Air Force bases to support pilot production and increase our fighter pilot community," said Steve Enberg of HAFB, who has piloted the F-16 for 18 years.

Enberg said of the 50 F-16s assigned to Hill, there are only 22 left. Some have already been loaned to various combat bases around the world.

"As Hill Air Force Base loses the F-16s we are gaining even greater combat capability in the F-35," he said. "The first is its ability to gather information through various sensors, fuse it together and provide that real-time to the pilot far surpasses what the F-16 can do, and the stealth capability allows it to enter enemy airspace and survive in locations where the F-16s simply can't."

The F-16s at Hill flew in Desert Storm and multiple missions to Afghanistan and Iraq. They will all be gone from Hill by September.

But in the next 18 months, 78 new F-35s will be in their place.