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Home : News : State Partnership Program
NEWS | March 4, 2024

Indiana National Guard Partner Slovakia Receives F-16s

By Master Sgt. Jeff Lowry, Indiana National Guard Headquarters

INDIANAPOLIS - One of the Indiana National Guard’s state partners, Slovakia, received two F-16s during a ceremony in South Carolina Feb. 29 attended by Maj. Gen. Dale Lyles, Indiana’s adjutant general.

The fighter jets, also known as Fighting Falcons, aim to bolster Slovakia’s defense capability, capacity and competence in NATO.

“The Indiana National Guard and the Slovak armed forces have shared a strong and productive partnership for decades, and it’s fitting that we will now simultaneously operate modern F-16 fighters, maintaining our dominance in the air,” said Lyles.  

The Indiana National Guard and Slovak armed forces began their partnership in 1994 as part of the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. Indiana has also partnered with Niger since 2017. The SPP program now includes 88 partnerships with 100 nations around the globe. 

As Slovakia gets their F-16s, Hoosier Airmen with the 122nd Fighter Wing have begun their transition back to Fighting Falcons after flying the A-10 Thunderbolt IIs for more than a decade.

“Conversion to the F-16 will allow the 122nd to build upon past successes and continue to pass the trials of the national defense strategy in new ways, long into the future,” Col. Joshua C. Waggoner, 122nd Fighter Wing commander, said last year.

More than 3,100 F-16s are operating today in 25 countries. The F-16 has flown an estimated 19.5 million flight hours and at least 13 million sorties. Today’s latest version, the Block 70/72, is flown by six countries and counting.