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Air base in Duluth, Minn. to get new F-16 fighters

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Air National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth is getting new fighter planes.

Rep. Jim Oberstar and Sen. Amy Klobuchar say the base will get 18 new F-16s starting in April. The planes will replace an aging generation of F-16s that are being retired.

Both Minnesota Democrats say the new planes are a sign of the base's long-term future.

The Duluth base was threatened with closing five years ago. Klobuchar says the facility is the city's ninth largest employer with more than 1,200 full- and part-time employees.

The Bulldogs of the 148th have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and in domestic homeland defense operations in Hawaii, Alaska and South Carolina.