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F-16s of the D.C. Air National Guard arrive in Saudi Arabia

An F-16C fighter plane of the District of Columbia Air National Guard arrives at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick/U.S. Air Force
An F-16C fighter plane of the District of Columbia Air National Guard arrives at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Senior Airman Samuel Earick/U.S. Air Force

July 21 (UPI) -- F-16 fighter planes and District of Columbia Air National Guard members arrived in Saudi Arabia this week to reinforce defenses of the Prince Sultan Air Base, according to the U.S. Air Force.

A contingent of planes and personnel of the DCANG's 113th Wing joined the U.S. Air Force 378th Air Expeditionary Wing to "reinforce PSAB's defensive capabilities, provide operational depth, and support U.S. Central Command operations," a U.S. Air Forces Central statement on Tuesday said.

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The D.C. unit is known as the "Capital Guardians," and provides domestic operations capabilities in support of the District of Columbia.

"Our wing has a fairly unique mission," Maj. Jaresha Obey, 121st Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron commander said in a press release.

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"Even at home station [in the District of Columbia] we provide an unrivaled 24/7 Aerospace Control Alert force to protect the Capital region and the Eastern seaboard. This requires us to keep our jets ready to go at a moment's notice to defend our nation's skies," Obey said.

Earlier this year, the 378th AEW trained with the U.S. Army and Royal Saudi Air Force in the joint exercise Desert Mirage II.

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The two-day event involved F-16C Fighting Falcon, F-15E/SA, Pilatus PC-21, Saab E-2000 and Panavia Tornado planes working with U.S. Army ADA Ground Control Interceptors to neutralize simulated inbound air threats such as unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles.

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"We utilized a live-fly event to further develop our bi-lateral Defensive Counter Air and Integrated Defense Design, tactics, techniques and procedures," Maj. John Cox, 378th AEW plans and programs chief, said in a press release at the time.

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