General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon operators
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon operators
The United States Air Force (USAF) and four of its NATO partners are the primary operators of General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. With the evolution of sales under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contracts, many other air forces have also acquired F-16s. Most nations that have been sold F-16s continue to use them as of 2010.
The F-16 is still in demand today, and many air forces are looking to replace aging inventories with F-16s. Because the USAF has steadily upgraded its F-16 inventory, it will sometimes sell older aircraft it considers obsolete as surplus Excess Defense Articles (EDAs) or as "knockdown" aircraft to supplement spares inventories.
- 1 United States operators
- 2 Original NATO partners
- 3 Europe
- 4 Middle East
- 5 Africa
- 6 Asia
- 7 Latin America
- 8 Potential operators
- 9 Cancelled orders and failed bids
- 10 Summaries of F-16 deliveries
- 11 References
- 12 External links
United States operators
United States Air Force
The USAF operates 1,245 F-16s with 701 with active forces, 490 with Air National Guard and 54 with Reserve. These are broken down to 1 F-16A Block 15, 197 F-16C/D Block 25, 350 F-16C/D Block 30, 51 F-16C/D Block 32, 222 F-16C/D Block 40, 174 F-16C/D Block 42, 198 F-16C/D Block 50, 52 F-16C/D Block 52.
Air Combat Command
Air Combat Command (ACC) is the descendant of the merger of the Tactical Air Command (TAC) and Strategic Air Command (SAC). ACC is the primary combat aircraft operator of the United States Air Force. Originally, all new F-16s would be delivered to TAC or ACC and then transferred to other commands, but now aircraft are often delivered directly to the other commands.
- 20th Fighter Wing - Shaw AFB, South Carolina
- 53d Wing - Eglin AFB, Florida
- 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron
- 422d Test and Evaluation Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nevada
- 57th Wing - Nellis AFB, Nevada
- 64th Aggressor Squadron
- USAF Air Demonstration Squadron
- 388th Fighter Wing - Hill AFB, Utah
Air Education and Training Command
The Air Education and Training Command (AETC) provides for most of the US Air Force's F-16 training facilities and operations. The command also provides for training of foreign air forces operating the F-16, with two squadrons providing training for Singapore and Taiwan.
- 56th Fighter Wing - Luke AFB, Arizona
The descendant of the merger of the Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) and the Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC), Air Force Materiel Command is responsible for providing, testing, and maintaining US Air Force equipment. As such, it plays a large part in the F-16 program, both in testing the aircraft and its weapon systems. It utilizes the F-16 for numerous tests for weapons equipping many US Air Force aircraft. Additionally, it operates overhaul programs to maintain the F-16 fleet of not only the US Air Force, but several foreign air forces as well.
Air Force Reserve Command
The delivery of the F-16 to the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) marked the first aircraft type to be delivered new, changing the long policy of merely passing older airframes on from the active forces to the Air Force Reserve. AFRC currently operates Block 25, 30, and 32 aircraft.
- 301st Fighter Wing - NAS JRB Fort Worth, Texas
- 419th Fighter Wing - Hill AFB, Utah
- 482d Fighter Wing - Homestead JARB, Florida
- 944th Fighter Wing - Luke AFB, Arizona
Air National Guard
As with the Air Force Reserve, the F-16 marked the transition of the Air National Guard (ANG) to a viable fighting force complementary to active-duty units, as opposed to the second-line force of out-of-date aircraft it had been. The F-16 remains a key part of the ANG force structure.
Pacific Air Forces
Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) was an early recipient of the F-16 and PACAF operates the latest models of the F-16 today.
- 8th Fighter Wing - Kunsan AB, South Korea
- 35th Fighter Wing - Misawa AB, Japan
- 51st Fighter Wing - Osan AB, South Korea
- 354th Fighter Wing - Eielson AFB, Alaska
US Air Forces in Europe
Once PACAF began receiving its F-16, US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) became a recipient of the F-16. USAFE F-16s have been common participants in most recent US military operations in Europe and the Middle East.
- 31st Fighter Wing - Aviano AB, Italy
- 52d Fighter Wing - Spangdahlem AB, Germany
- 480th Fighter Squadron
While the United States Navy chose the competing McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet for development as a carrier-based strike fighter, the service still had a need for an aggressor aircraft to supplement the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and Northrop F-5E Tiger II aircraft posing as enemy fighters to help train Navy pilots in dissimilar air combat training (DACT). The lightweight F-16 was ideal for the job, and the F-16N version was specifically developed for the task. With removal of the internal cannon (compensated by ballast), the F-16N and two-seat TF-16N served for a number of years before retirement. The F-16 was reintroduced to the aggressor role for the US Navy with the acquisition of some of the Pakistani F-16A/B-15OCU aircraft embargoed before delivery to that country and they remain in use today at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) at NAS Fallon, Nevada. The US Navy operates 40 F-16s.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Not a military force, NASA plays a vital role in research and development of aerospace technology. Its fleet contains two exotic F-16 models (bailed from USAF), the F-16XL and F-16A AFTI, both involved in researching advanced technologies for application to not only the F-16, but other aircraft as well. Additionally, a number of standard F-16s have been operated by NASA as chase aircraft and engine testbeds.
Original NATO partners
Once selected by the United States, it was further decided to form a partnership between the United States Air Force, then beginning development of the plane for service, and nations of the NATO alliance who had a similar need for a lightweight fighter. Four such nations chose to join the development effort, and became part as well of the production and sub-contracting work to build the Fighting Falcon. The four European partners, collectively known as the European Participating Governments (EPG), are Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway; their air forces are likewise referred to as the European Participating Air Forces (EPAF).
Belgium was the largest initial buyer of the F-16 of the four original NATO partners, and also was a primary producer of the aircraft as part of the partnership. Belgium's initial order brought delivery of 116 F-16A and F-16B in blocks 1, 5, 10, and 15, beginning in 1979, and was completed in 1985. A follow-on order for 44 F-16A-15OCU and F-16B-15OCU was completed in 1991.
Denmark was the smallest member of the NATO partnership, with the Royal Danish Air Force accepting 58 aircraft under Denmark's initial order. A small follow-on order brought a further twelve aircraft to Denmark, and two further attrition replacement orders have been placed, totalling seventy planes between them.
The Netherlands, like Belgium, made substantial orders for the F-16, and built aircraft at the Fokker plant. A total of 102 aircraft were initially ordered, but these were followed by substantial follow-on orders for a total of 111 additional aircraft. 52 of these were F-16A/B-15OCU aircraft. These orders brought total Dutch F-16 deliveries to 213. 108 of them received the Mid-Life-Update (MLU).
Norway joined the original NATO-USAF partnership to replace its ageing Lockheed F-104 Starfighter squadrons. In 1975, Norway placed an order for 72 F-16A/B aircraft, delivered between 1980 and 1984. Unlike the other partners, there have been no follow-up orders, except for a single order in 1989 for two F-16B-15OCU aircraft as replacements for crashed aircraft. All the aircraft have received the Mid-Life-Update (MLU), and they received the new, helmet-mounted sighting system.
After protracted negotiations the Hellenic Air Force ordered the F-16 in 1985. FMS program PEACE XENIA was begun with delivery of 40 F-16C/D Block 30 aircraft in 1989 and 1990. This was followed by an order for 40 F-16C/D Block 50 fighters, delivered in 1997 and 1998. In June 2000 a further order for 50 F-16C/D Block 52 was made with an option of 10 more fighters, exercised in September 2001. All 60 aircraft (40 C-model aircraft and 20 missionized D-model) were delivered by June 2004. On December 2005 the Greek government signed an LOA for the delivery of 30 new F-16C/D Block 52+ with an option on 10 more. The first batch consists of 20 C-models and 10 D-models, while first deliveries are due in 2009.
Italy has decided on the Eurofighter Typhoon as its next generation of air-defense fighter, however this aircraft faced delivery delays for some time. In the meantime, some Panavia Tornado jets from the United Kingdom were leased to cover the gap. This lease ran out in 2003, without the Typhoon being ready for service. The solution was provided by a five-year lease of 34 F-16 aircraft, of which 30 will be F-16A/B-15ADF aircraft. The final four aircraft were earlier block aircraft for spares. These are all used U.S. Air Force fighters. In June 2010, the Italian Air Force started the return of the F-16s to the United States. By June 2012, all the Italian F-16 will be returned to the USA.
The Italian Foreign Military Sales program is known as PEACE CAESAR.
One of the former members of the Warsaw Pact that was looking to replace an aging fleet of Soviet-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 (withdrawn in service in 1999 due to their small numbers and uneconomical operation) and the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 fighters (withdrawn from service in 2003), Poland conducted a competition between the Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2, the JAS 39 Gripen, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 (the last offer was withdrawn), and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Despite a strong challenge by the BAe/SAAB team, Poland purchased 48 F-16C/D-52+ aircraft. The aircraft were delivered from 2006 under the PEACE SKY program, to avoid confusion with the PZL W-3 Sokół (Polish language "Falcon") helicopter, these jet fighters were nicknamed the F-16 Jastrząb (Goshawk) in Polish. Now, the F-16, along with 32 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 fighters and 48 Sukhoi Su-22 ground attack aircraft are the main offensive strike force for Polish Air Force.
They have also been delays in the offset program, the United States has not made all the promised investments in Poland that were part of the deal. Offset deals in 2011 reached $6 billion out of $6.028 billion planned ($9.8 billion at time when offer was chosen), however only one-third of recognised offsets commitment were direct investments in Polish economy.
According to a former Polish military defence vice-minister, the offer for JAS 39 Gripen was a better deal. F-16s cost $3.5 billion compare to 3.2 billion euro for Saab's Gripen and 3.6 billion euro for Dassault offer, at that time both currency had similar value.
The Portuguese Air Force chose the F-16 sometime during the 1980s to replace its aging and obsolescent LTV A-7 Corsair II attack aircraft which were no longer suitable for air-to-air combat and were facing severe logistical problems.
The Portuguese Foreign Military Sales program is known as PEACE ATLANTIS.
- Peace Atlantis I
In August 1990 the government of then-Prime Minister Cavaco Silva signed a Letter Of Acceptance (LoA) which lead to the creation of the Peace Atlantis I program. The funds used for the purchase were made available through the Foreign Military Sales program, partly a payment for the use by the United States of Lajes Air Base in the Azores. Initially the United States proposed to supply Portugal with Block 10 surplus aircraft. However this option rested on a first order of 20 newly-built F-16 Block 15 OCU (17 A-models and three B-models) with Pratt & Whitney F100 engines, which made them almost identical to the US Air National Guard's F-16 ADF. Deliveries of this first order began on February 18, 1994, and was completed on July 18 in the same year.
During the War in Kosovo, it was seen that while the Portuguese F-16s were recently obtained, they were no longer up to the same level as most modern fighters used by other NATO countries. In 1999, during the Portuguese participation in the conflict (Operation Allied Force), the three F-16 fighters deployed by Portugal were relegated to escort missions and combat air patrols due to their lack of modern armament and air-to-ground targeting systems.
- Peace Atlantis II
During 1996, during the government of then-Prime Minister António Guterres, new negotiations took place concerning the possible purchase of new of F-16 fighters and the modernization those aircraft. The Pentagon approved of the deal on November 20, 1997, and on November 30, 1998, Portugal signed the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LoA) for 25 second-hand F - 16 Block 15 (21 A and four B) that had be used by the U.S. Air National Guard. Under the program these would be offered by the United States at zero cost and free of charge as Excess Defense Articles under the Southern Regional Amendment to the Arms Export and Control Act, with Portugal being responsible for their transportation to Europe and for the modernization costs.
The Portuguese air force flies about 18 F-16A/B Block 15 OCU, and eight F-16AM/BM. Currently the Portuguese F-16 fleet uses the AN/ALQ-131 ECM pods that had originally been bought for the A-7P Corsair IIs, and the F-16s are scheduled to be equipped later on with the new Rafael LITENING II targeting pods.
- 201 Squadron "Falcões", - Air Base No. 5, Monte Real, operating the F-16 A Block 15 OCU.
- 301 Squadron "Jaguares" - Air Base No. 5, Monte Real, operating the F-16 AM.
Included in the LoA and in the Peace Atlantis II program was also the purchase of new Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220E engines, 20 upgrade kits, logistics support and training.
Initially the plan consisted in only upgrading the second-hand aircraft of the Peace Atlantis II program and of transferring the F-16s from the Peace Atlantis I to a second squadron with the mission of performing tactical air support actions and tactical air support for maritime operations (TASMO), which wouldn't require the MLU kit.
Of the second-hand F-16s, five of the airframes will be used as spare parts, and only the remaining 20 F-16s are being upgraded for day & night all-weather operations, by receiving the Falcon UP structural upgrade, the F100-PW-220E engine upgrade and the Mid-Life update (MLU) avionics and cockpit upgrade, to equip the 301 Squadron, which will replace the last 50 operational A - 7 Corsair II in the ground-attack role.
The Mid-Life upgrade (MLU) will be performed in Portugal. In 2001, employees of the LMTAS modified the first two aircraft in a Lead-the-Fleet program, with Portuguese technicians observing. The first F - 16 AM was delivered on June 2003, and the PoAF personnel is to perform the modification of the remaining 18 aircraft.
The Turkish Air Force is the world's third largest operator of the F-16, following the USA and Israel. Turkey became one of the nations to indigenously produce the F-16, under a license from Lockheed Martin. Turkey initially received in total 240 F-16s. However, a further 30 were ordered in 2007. All Turkish F-16s are built by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). Each new aircraft had to visit American territory under the terms of the PEACE ONYX Foreign Military Sales program before being turned over to the Turkish Air Force. In 2005, Turkey signed a $1.1 billion avionics upgrade package, based on the USAF's Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP). In addition to this, the Turkish Air Force put a firm order for 30 more F-16 Block 50/52+. These too will be manufactured by TAI. 165 F-16 will be upgraded to F-16 Block 50+ standards by TAI.
TAI-built F-16s for the Turkish Air Force incorporate indigenous components such as the ASELPOD (similar to Lightning III), ASELSAN-developed AVCI helmet-cueing system, mission computer, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems, and Self-Protection electronics suites.
The small country of Bahrain originally ordered the F-16 in 1987, agreeing to buy eight Block 40 F-16C and four F-16D under the PEACE CROWN program. These aircraft arrived prior to the first Persian Gulf War. After this, with the increasing military presence of the United States, Bahrain sought further enhancement of its air force and the replacement of its F-5 Tiger II fighters. Initial talks centered on the F-16N being withdrawn from service with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, but ultimately, it was decided to purchase ten new Block 40 F-16C aircraft.
Since the historic Camp David accords, Egypt has actively sought to re-equip its military with western weapons. Thus, it has become a large customer for the F-16 Fighting Falcon, which fits well with Egyptian defense needs. No fewer than six separate PEACE VECTOR programs have delivered 42 F-16A/B-15, 40 F-16C/D-32, and 138 F-16C/D-40 fighters to the Egyptian Air Force by 2002. In March 2010 it was announced that Egypt would purchase an additional 20 Block 52 aircraft (16 F-16Cs and 4 F-16Ds). Currently, the Egyptian Air Force operates 220 F-16s making it the world's 4th largest F-16 operator.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is the second largest user of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, second only to the U.S. Air Force and its reserve components. The IAF achieved the type's first air-to-air victories when IAF pilots shot down two aircraft, a Mi-8 helicopter and a MiG-21 Fishbed fighter plane, both Syrian, in April 1981.
The IAF took delivery of its first F-16s earlier than expected after the cancellation of the sale of F-16s to the Iranian Air Force. The IAF had announced plans to buy 75 F-16s as early as 1978, and deliveries were carried out under American Foreign Military Sales program Peace Marble I. These F-16As and Bs received the nickname Hebrew "Netz" (Hawk). Peace Marble II witnessed the delivery of a further 75 block 30 F-16Cs and F-16Ds to the IAF. Israel's F-16 fleet was further expanded by Peace Marble III, which brought 30 block-40 F-16Cs and 30 two-seat F-16Ds to the IAF between 1991 and 1993. These newer models were nicknamed "Barak" ("lightning"). In part to reward Israel for its restraint during the Gulf War, a shipment of 50 US-surplus F-16As and F-16Bs were delivered in 1994.
In a deal worth $4.5 billion, Israel also ordered 102 additional block 52+ F-16Ds, designated the F-16 Fighting Falcon#F-16C.2FD, nicknamed "Sufa" (Storm). Deliveries of these took place between 2004 and 2009.
Like Egypt, Jordan opened the door to modern American arms sales by reaching a peace agreement with Israel, this one in 1994. Jordan then arranged for a lease of air defense F-16s from the United States, and to transfer ownership eventually. The program was successful, providing Jordan with 16 F-16A/B-15ADF fighters in 1997 and 1998. A second PEACE FALCON program delivered a further 17 aircraft of similar type. All of these aircraft are refurbished Excess Defense Articles. In 2005, Jordan purchased three former RNLAF F-16s. Later the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) pursued more second hand purchases in 2006/2007 from Belgium and the Netherlands, the purchase totaled 22 aircraft, putting the RJAF in a good position with 58 F-16s.
In May 2002, the Sultanate of Oman signed an agreement with the U.S. government to purchase 12 Advanced Block 50 F-16s in the PEACE A'SAMA A'SAFIYA ("Clear Skies") Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The agreement includes eight single-seat F-16Cs and four two-seat F-16Ds.
United Arab Emirates
It was surprising to some to find the F-16 the winner of the UAE's high-end fighter competition, beating both the Dassault Rafale and F-15 Eagle. The key was a highly advanced configuration that became the F-16E/F-60, with the UAE as its first customer. A total of 80 aircraft were ordered.
The Bush administration announced plans to sell Morocco 24 F-16C/D fighters and 24 T-6B trainers aircraft valued at up to $2.6 billion on 27 December 2007. The sale was officially announced on 6 June 2008 and deliveries commenced in July 2011.
A small operator of the F-16, Indonesia received a single allotment of 8 F-16A and 4 F-16B aircraft. With the loss of two F-16As the fleet is now only ten aircraft. A purchase of nine more aircraft was cancelled in favor of 12 Su-30KI and 8 Mil MI-17, some sources state 24 Su-30KI. This order was also cancelled due to the Asian Financial Crisis. The Indonesian Air Force are planning to upgrade their F-16A and B aircraft to F-16C/D variants by the end of 2009 and there is an option of purchasing new F-16C/Ds to replace their retired, but in reserve, F-5E Tiger II's. From 2000 to 2005 the US imposed an arms embargo on Indonesia which resulted in the F-16 squadron being grounded due to a lack of spare parts. The Indonesian Air Force was seeking approval to purchase 6 new F-16 C/D variants to strengthen their F-16 squadron in 2009. However, the United States counter-offered up to 24 used F16A/B with 6 spares which could be upgraded to Blk 32 standard for the same cost. The offer had since been accepted. The Indonesian Foreign Military Sales program is known as PEACE BIMA-SENA.
Pakistan was an early customer of the F-16, seeking to counter their rival India's purchases of Soviet aircraft. The United States obliged by selling increasingly large lots of F-16A/B fighters to Pakistan. An initial order for 40 aircraft was delivered in two installments, and led to a further order for 71 more F-16A/B-15OCU aircraft. Due to political developments relating to Pakistan's nuclear program, these aircraft were embargoed before delivery. 28 aircraft remained in storage while other buyers were sought (and a 10 year lease to New Zealand fell through), but ultimately it was decided that the aircraft would be put into service with the US Air Force and Navy as aggressor aircraft. The remaining aircraft on order had work stopped before completion.
The Pakistani Foreign Military Sales program is known as PEACE GATE.
In November 2006, the Pakistan Air Force signed a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) for 18 new-built F-16C/D Block 52+, 28 F-16A/B Block 15 and 60 Mid-Life-Update M3 Tape modules/kits as part of a $5.1bn deal including fighter aircraft, their related infrastructure, training and ammunition. Deliveries of the F-16A/Bs are expected to begin in 2007, while the initial F-16C/Ds will likely be received sometime in late 2008 or early 2009. The current procurement program of new-built aircraft as well as refurbishment and upgrade of 60 used and serving aircraft is expected to be complete by 2010-2012, as per the Pakistan Air Force Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed. In April 2006, Janes Defence Weekly reported that the PAF may procure an additional 18 Block 52+ from the current deal. In July 2007, Commander of Central Command Air Forces, Lieutenant General Gary L. North (U.S. Air Force), and another U.S. aviator flew a pair of F-16s to Pakistan for Pakistan Air Force.
In December 2009 the first F-16/D block 52+ rolled out for PAF. Its is expected that all 18 F-16C/D will be delivered to PAF by the end of 2010. PAF has announced that it is buying 14 more F-16C/D block 52+ which will be delivered in 2011.
The Singapore Air Force began as a small F-16 user, but has a steadily growing fleet. It has operated the aircraft since 2000, when the first of its initial order for 8 F-16A/B-15OCU arrived. Since then, it has begun ordering multiple installments of F-16C/D-52 aircraft, totalling 76 of the advanced fighters.
The Singapore Foreign Military Sales program is known as PEACE CARVIN.
Facing a desperate need for advanced aircraft to counter North Korea's numerical superiority, Republic of Korea Air Force was quick to order the F-16 to meet its needs with a 1981 order for 36 F-16C/D Block 32 aircraft(later 4 F-16Ds added by profit from exchange rate fluctuation), making it the first operator for the C/D model outside of the United States. A more ambitious program (Korean Fighter Program) to provide 120 new fighters was initially lost to the F/A-18 Hornet, but various difficulties led to the order going to the F-16C/D Block 52D(KF-16C/D), 72 of which were to be manufactured in South Korea, 36 of which were to be delivered in kit form and assembled in South Korea, and 12 of which were to be produced in Fort Worth, U.S.A.. In 2000, a further 20 Korean-built F-16s were added.
The South Korean Foreign Military Sales program is known as PEACE BRIDGE.
In May 2009, South Korean government announced upgrade plan for its KF-16C/D fleet’s radar and armament, as part of the 2010-2014 arms acquisition and management package being submitted to President Lee Myung-bak for approval. The ROKAF operates about 135 of the “KF-16” fighters, many of which were built in Korea under a $5.5 billion licensing agreement from 1994-2004. Key upgrades will include new radars to replace the existing APG-68v5/v7 systems, avionics and computers, and improving cabling and databuses to MIL-STD-1760 so that the aircraft will be able to carry GPS-guided weapons, AIM-9X Sidewider missiles, and other new equipment. The Korea Times reports that Elta's EL/M-2032 radar, which equips many Israeli F-16s, has been exported to several countries and aircraft models, and will equip the ROKAF’s future F/A-50 lightweight fighters, is receiving strong consideration.
Republic of China (Taiwan) is a major F-16 customer, although it has placed only a single order for the aircraft. In 1992, 150 F-16A/B-20 aircraft were ordered while at the same time Taiwan ordered 60 Dassault Mirage 2000 and launched its own indigenous fighter program, the AIDC Ching-Kuo. Delivery of all F-16s was completed in 2001.
The Taiwanese Foreign Military Sales program is known as PEACE FENGHUANG (Peace Phoenix).
The Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF), needing a next generation fighter to replace its fleet of F-5s, has expressed interest in the new F-35 Lightning II. However, due to political issues, it is unlikely the island nation will be able to acquire such an advanced fighter in the near future. As a result, the ROCAF has opted for up to 66 new F-16C/D Block50/52 as its interim replacement fighter. As with all military purchases, Beijing has expressed opposition to the sale, which is currently stalled inside the Obama administration. However Obama has agreed to a $5.3 billion deal to upgrade Taiwan's current fleet of F-16 A/B Block 20s to C/D levels with advanced radars.
The Royal Thai Air Force Initially considered a candidate to purchase the F-16/79, Thailand's first order was ultimately for 12 F-16A/B-15OCU fighters, immediately bolstered by a further 6 F-16A-15OCU planes. 18 more aircraft were received in 1995, the last new-production block 15 aircraft built. An attempt to buy F/A-18 Hornets failed, and in place of them, the US offered to sell USAF F-16ADFs Excess Defense Articles. A total of 18 examples were bought. In early 2005, the Royal Thai Air Force received 3 F-16A-15OCU and 4 F-16B-15OCU from the Republic of Singapore Air Force. In 2011, 18 F-16A/B-15 OCU from 403 Sqd. will be upgraded to F-16 MLU.
The Thai Foreign Military Sales program is known as PEACE NARESUAN.
The Chilean Air Force selected the F-16 as the winner of a long-running competition to provide the nation's next generation of fighter aircraft in 2000. The F-16 competed successfully against the JAS 39 Gripen, the Dassault Mirage 2000, the F-18 Hornet. Currently Chile has already received all of its ten F-16C/D Block 50 aircraft. The deal for six C and four D model aircraft was valued at $600 million in 2002 and was conducted under the program name PEACE PUMA. 18 more used F-16A/B MLU aircraft (11 F-16AM and 7 F-16BM) were bought from Netherlands in 2005, and delivered by mid-2006. In late 2008, the Chilean Ministry of Defense expressed its interest in buying 18 more aircraft from the Netherlands, which was later confirmed in April 2009.
The Chilean F-16 Block 50 could be armed with US missile such as the AIM-120 and AIM-9 Sidewinder and Israeli made missiles Derby, Python IV and Python V. The Chilean Air Force purchase Litening II pods.
The F-16 Air Force of Chile are part of the following units:
- 1st Air Brigade (I Brigada Aérea) in Los Condores Air Base.
- 3rd Aviation Group (Grupo de Aviación Nº 3).
- 5th Air Brigade (V Brigada Aérea) in Cerro Moreno Air Base.
- 7th Aviation Group (Grupo de Aviación Nº 7).
- 8th Aviation Group (Grupo de Aviación Nº 8).
The first – and for a long time the only – Latin American user of the F-16, Venezuela ordered a total of 24 F-16A/B Block 15 aircraft in May 1982 under the PEACE DELTA program; the U.S. government originally offered the F-16/J79 version, but eventually authorized sale of the standard Block 15 version. Deliveries of 18 ‘A’ models and 6 ‘B’ models began in September 1983 and were completed in 1985. Since entering operational service in 1984, these fighters have served with 161st and 162nd Fighter Squadron of Fighter Air Group 16 at El Libertador Airbase, Palo Negro. The Venezuelan Air Force had wanted to order a further batch of 24 aircraft, but was unable to afford the purchase.
Venezuela has been seeking two attrition replacements for lost F-16s since late 1997, but has not been able to obtain them due to financial problems and souring relations between the United States and the government of President Hugo Chávez. On 15 May 2006, the U.S. government announced that it would enact a ban on arms sales to Venezuela to become effective at the beginning of October of that year. This embargo was expected to soon render Venezuela’s F-16 fleet non-operational, and General Alberto Muller, a military advisor to President Chávez, responded to the embargo announcement with a threat to sell Venezuela’s remaining 21 F-16s to Iran. Subsequently, the Chávez government decided to pursue replacement of its American-sourced military aircraft inventory with Russian aircraft, and in mid-June 2006 it was revealed that Venezuela had recently ordered several Sukhoi Su-30s.
Operating Units Model Location 16º Grupo Aéreo de Caza "Dragones" El Libertador Airbase, Palo Negro Escuadrón de Caza 161 "Caribes" F-16A/B Block 15 El Libertador Airbase, Palo Negro Escuadrón de Caza 162 "Gavilanes" F-16A/B Block 15 El Libertador Airbase, Palo Negro
Below is a listing of active proposals for acquisition of F-16s.
The Iraqi Government was looking to buy 36 F-16s for its air force in late 2008 in replace of phased-off Russian and Chinese fighters during Saddam Hussein's regime acquired after Iran-Iraq War. In the spring 2009, the decision was made to spend $1.5 billion on an initial order of 18 F-16 fighters. Later purchases could bring the total buy to 96.
On 24 March 2010, Romania's Supreme Defense Council approved the purchase of 24 refurbished F-16C/D Block 25 from the U.S. Air Force inventory. An approval of the acquisition by the Parliament is likely. First batch of aircraft is scheduled to arrive in 2013. Total cost for the aircraft are estimated at US$1.4 billion. This is the first stage of a modernization program witch will continue with the acquisition of another 24 new F-16C/D Block 52. After the first order of fighters flight resource is depleted (estimated 2025) it is planned to replace them with 24 F-35 Lightning IIs.
Romania failed to pay the first installment on the aircraft, even though it was delayed from June 3 to August 3.
Cancelled orders and failed bids
The US Defense Cooperation Agency offered 36 F-16A (MLU) (+6 spares) in June 1999 to Argentina. The bid was abandoned by the upcoming Argentine Government
The "F-16BR" was declassified in the FX-2 Program by Brazilian Air Force. Brazil was evaluating this aircraft with the intent to manufacture in a joint-venture with Lockheed Martin. In the short-list are the Dassault Rafale, Boeing F-18 Super Hornet and the SAAB Gripen NG.
For the ongoing Indian MRCA competition for the Indian Air Force (IAF), Lockheed Martin was offering the customized F-16IN Super Viper. The F-16IN is based closely on the F-16E/F Block 60 and features conformal fuel tanks; AN/APG-80 AESA radar, GE F110-132A engine with FADEC controls; electronic warfare suite and infra-red searching (IRST); updated all-color glass cockpit; and a helmet-mounted cueing system.
Lockheed Martin and the United States government intensively lobbied for India's US$10 billion contract for 126 fighter jets. Ashton Carter, chief of The Pentagon's acquisition department, even raised the possibility of United States offering F-35 Lightning II to India as a follow-on to the F-16IN.
The IAF extensively evaluated the F-16 which included field trials in hot weather conditions and in high-altitude mountain ranges. In April 2011, the IAF rejected F-16IN's bid in favor of either the Eurofighter Typhoon or Dassault Rafale.
In December 1998, the Royal New Zealand Air Force had planned to acquire 28 F-16A/B Block 15 aircraft following their embargoed sale to Pakistan under a 10 year lease-buy arrangement as an interim replacement for its fleet of ageing A-4 Skyhawks. The agreed price was US$105 million. The acquisition was cancelled by the new Labour government in March 2000 citing a benign security environment in which "an air combat force is not a priority".
Summaries of F-16 deliveries
Foreign sales programs by codename
While USAF and EPAF customers account for the majority of F-16 sales, the F-16 has also been sold to many other customers under an agreement known as a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
Since the DoD assigns two-word codenames to programs such as these, FMS programs are assigned two-word codenames beginning with the word PEACE, indicating oversight by USAF Headquarters. The second word in these FMS sales is often chosen to reflect some facet of the customer, such as MARBLE for Israel or ONYX for Turkey. DoD codenames appear in all capital letters.
The codename is assigned beginning with the first FMS sale, and Roman numerals are appended to distinguish follow-on buys, the original FMS buy denoted with the Roman numeral 'I'.
Note that the sale of the F-16E and F-16F Block 60 models to the UAE was not assigned a codename, because it was not sold under an FMS agreement.
Program Codename Customer Deliveries Aircraft Acquired Notes Peace A'sama A'safiya Oman 2005–2006 (12) 8 F-16C-50 (Adv.), 4 F-16D-50 (Adv.) “A'sama A'safiya” means “Clear Skies”. Peace Atlantis I Portugal 1994 (20) 17 F-16A-15OCU, 3 F-16B-15OCU Peace Atlantis II Portugal 1999 (25) 21 F-16A-15, 4 F-16B-15 USAF EDAs, 5 F-16As broken down for spares; received MLU Peace Bima-Sena Indonesia 1989–1990 (12) 8 F-16A-15OCU, 4 F-16B-15OCU Additional order for 9 aircraft was cancelled. Peace Bridge I South Korea 1986–1992 (40) 30 F-16C-32, 10 F-16D-32 Peace Bridge II South Korea 1994–2000 (120) 80 F-16C-52, 40 F-16D-52 Licensed production, Korea Fighter Program (KFP). Peace Bridge III South Korea 2003–2004 (20) 14 F-16C-52, 6 F-16D-52 Licensed production, Korea Fighter Program (KFP). Peace Carvin I Singapore 1988 (8) 4 F-16A-15OCU, 4 F-16B-15OCU Peace Carvin II Singapore 1998 (18) 8 F-16C-52, 10 F-16D-52 Peace Carvin III Singapore 2000–2002 (12) 10 F-16C-52, 2 F-16D-52 Peace Carvin IV Singapore 2003–2004 (20) 20 F-16D-52 Peace Caesar Italy 2003–2004 (34) 26 F-16A-15ADF, 4 F-16B-15ADF, 4 F-16A/B-5/10 10-year lease program of surplus USAF aircraft. Peace Crown I Bahrain 1990 (12) 8 F-16C-40, 4 F-16D-40 Peace Crown II Bahrain 2000 (10) 10 F-16C-40 Peace Delta Venezuela 1982–1984 (24) 18 F-16A-15, 6 F-16B-15 Peace Falcon I Jordan 1997–1998 (16) 12 F-16A-15ADF, 4 F-16B-15ADF USAF EDAs Peace Falcon II Jordan 2003 (17) 12 [7+9?] F-16A-15ADF, 5 [1?] F-16B-15ADF USAF EDAs Peace Fenghuang Taiwan 1997–2001 (150) 120 F-16A-20, 30 F-16B-20 Peace Gate I Pakistan 1983 (6) 2 F-16A-15, 4 F-16B-15 Peace Gate II Pakistan 1983–1987 (34) 26 F-16A-15, 8 F-16B-15 Peace Gate III Pakistan Embargoed (11) 6 F-16A-15OCU, 5 F-16B-15OCU Peace Gate IV Pakistan Embargoed (60) 48 F-16A-15OCU, 12 F-16B-15OCU Peace Gate V Pakistan 1983–1987 (34) 26 F-16A-15, 8 F-16B-15 Peace Marble I Israel 1980–1981 (75) 18 F-16A-5, 8 F-16B-5, 40 F-16A-10, 9 F-16A-15 Peace Marble II Israel 1986–1988 (75) 51 F-16C-30, 24 F-16D-30 Peace Marble III Israel 1991–1993 (60) 30 F-16C-30, 30 F-16D-30 Peace Marble IV Israel 1994 (50) 3 F-16A-1, 2 F-16B-1, 1 F-16A-5, 7 F-16B-5, 32 F-16A-10, 5 F-16B-10 Peace Marble V Israel 2004–2009 (102) 102 F-16D-52 Peace Naresuan I Thailand 1988 (12) 8 F-16A-15OCU, 4 F-16B-15OCU Peace Naresuan II Thailand 1990–1991 (6) 6 F-16A-15OCU Peace Naresuan III Thailand 1995–1996 (18) 12 F-16A-15OCU, 6 F-16B-15OCU Peace Naresuan IV Thailand 2002–2003 (18) 15 F-16A-15ADF, 1 F-16B-15ADF, 2 F-16A-10OCU Peace Onyx I Turkey 1987–1995 (160) 34 F-16C-30, 9 F-16D-30, 102 F-16C-40, 15 F-16D-40 Peace Onyx II Turkey 1996–1997 (40) 34 F-16C-50, 6 F-16D-50 Peace Onyx III Turkey 1998–1999 (40) 26 F-16C-50, 14 F-16D-50 Peace Onyx IV Turkey 2010–2011 (30) 16 F-16C-50+ , 14 F-16D-50+ Peace Sky Poland 2006–2009 (48) 36 F-16C-52, 12 F-16D-52 Peace Vector I Egypt 1982–1985 (42) 34 F-16A-15, 8 F-16B-15 Peace Vector II Egypt 1986–1988 (40) 34 F-16C-32, 6 F-16D-32 Peace Vector III Egypt 1991–1995 (47) 35 F-16C-40, 12 F-16D-40 Peace Vector IV Egypt 1994–1995 (46) 34 F-16C-40, 12 F-16D-40 Peace Vector V Egypt 1999–2000 (21) 21 F-16C-40 Peace Vector VI Egypt 2001–2002 (24) 12 F-16C-40, 12 F-16D-40 Peace Xenia I Greece 1989–1990 (40) 34 F-16C-30, 6 F-16D-30 Peace Xenia II Greece 1997–1998 (40) 32 F-16C-50, 8 F-16D-50 Peace Xenia III Greece 2002–2004 (60) 40 F-16C-52, 20 F-16D-52 Peace Xenia IV Greece 2009–2010 (30) 20 F-16C-52, 10 F-16D-52
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- ^ F-16 Fighting Falcon
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- ^ F-16 Air Forces - South Korea
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- ^ Anon. (undated). “Venezuela”. F-16.net. Retrieved 16 June 2008.
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- ^ Anon. (15 June 2006). “Venezuela to get Russian aircraft”. BBC. Retrieved 16 June 2008.
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- ^ US lobbying fails to mask fighters' flaws
- ^ Arms companies raise the pitch for $12bn order
- ^ US may allow India to buy F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter
- ^ US wants India's fighter jet order, dangles F-35 carrot
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- ^ "New Zealand cancels US fighter contract". Associated PRess. March 20, 2000.
- F-16.net F-16 air forces, operators, and potential customers
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