F-16 Fighting Falcon converted into Thunderbird jet

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It’s the first ever F-16 Fighting Falcon converted locally into a Thunderbird jet.

Many have surely already spotted the new jet when it flew around Southern Nevada for the first time on May 5th.  

Some of the changes included rewiring, removal of the jet fuel doors and installing new components in accordance with the blueprints.

We are told a conversion normally takes a year and it is done at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

In this case, the Falcon was modified locally in seven months, saving time, money and manpower, thanks to the airmen and the help of Nellis Air Force Base.

“The major modification for Thunderbird when it comes to weapon system is the removal of the gallon system – a 20 mm system — but it’s possible to return to its original capability if it requires in the future,” said Captain Mike Bell.

We are told resources for a conversion are limited, so the local team decided to take on the challenge and they completed the task in less than a year. They say the longest process was the paint job.

You can expect to see jet number 8 in the sky in future shows.

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