Mark Ayton visited the F-16C-equipped 510th Fighter Squadron during a recent deployment to the UK
Close air support and the UK, especially the county of Suffolk, are no strangers to the 510th. The squadron was equipped with the A-10 Thunderbolt II and assigned to the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing based at RAF Bentwaters, Suffolk, from the early part of 1979 until December 1992; close air support was its bread-and-butter mission with the objective of killing Soviet Bloc tanks using the 30mm GAU-8/A Avenger cannon. Fast forward to July 2018 and the squadron remains in the close air support business, but operates Block 40 F-16C and F-16D Fighting Falcons. Designated the 510th Fighter Squadron, the unit retains its ‘Buzzards’ nickname and resides at Aviano Air Base, Italy, as a component squadron in the 31st Fighter Wing.