159th Fighter Wing [159th FW]
The 159th Fighter Wing flys F-15 aircraft with a primary mission of air sovereignty.
On June 25, 1999, members of the 159th Fighter Wing, New Orleans ANG, while on deployment to Reykjavik, Iceland, flying F-15A aircraft, intercepted two Russian TU-95 "Bear-H" aircraft. They use Warning Area airspace over the Gulf of Mexico for most of their training. Supersonic flight, necessary for realistic training, is conducted away from the shoreline in a manner that does not disturb the public. Generally speaking, they have good airspace within which to train. Some forms of chaff, however, do interfere electronically with the Houston FAA ARTCC. A modification of Warning Area W-59 to a north/south orientation would impact the 159FW ability to train effectively and efficiently. Training would be hampered by long distances to and from the southern end of the Warning Area. Safety would be compromised since air/sea rescue could not respond in a timely manner at the greater distances. The 159FW has a good working relationship with Houston ARTCC.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign the 142d Fighter Wing (ANG) at Portland IAP AGS, OR by distributing the wing's F-15 aircraft to the 159th Fighter Wing (ANG), New Orleans ARS, LA (nine aircraft) and another installation. New Orleans had above average military value for reserve component bases, and realigning aircraft from Portland would create another optimum-sized fighter squadron at New Orleans. By relocating the geographically separated Air National Guard squadron onto New Orleans, the Air Force would best utilize available facilities on the installation while reducing the cost to the government to lease facilities in the community.
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