F-16 user countries include Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, South Korea, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, USA, Venezuela. The F-16 team is reauthoring the data from 27 independent databases into a single composite database in order to take advantage of the common data existing between the different versions of F-16. The output from the composite database will amount to approximately 1.4 million pages. Not only will the USAF use the new digitized tech data, F-16 owners from Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Bahrain, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Portugal, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Taiwan and Venezuela will also have access to the common digitized data.
During the Cold War, the United States would sell or transfer arms to those states that supported American national security policy. If a state was anti-Communist, they were a qualified arms customer. In the 1970s the Congress put much tighter controls on the process, with legislation linking a state’s human rights record with their eligibility to buy or receive arms from America. This trend culminated in 1977 with President Carter’s Presidential Directive(PD)-13. This required all arms transfers to be directly linked to US security interests, and tied them to the human rights record of recipient governments. PD-13 also prohibited the introduction of weapons more sophisticated than weapons already present in the region. Latin America’s authoritarian governments with poor human rights records , combinted with the low tech military forces to effectively cut off significant arms sales to the region.
Ronald Reagan supported providing weapons to governments to help put down Communist insurgencies, and Latin America was the focus of this renewed focus on anti-Communism. In 1982 President Reagan effectively rescinded President Carter’s PD-13 and sold F-16’s to Venezuela to provide a regional counterbalance to Cuba’s acquisition of Soviet MiG-23’s. Though the flow of less advanced arms continued to Latin America during the Reagan years, the Venezuelan F-16 deal was the last sale of United States advanced fighters to the region for some time. The export to Venezuela was more about political and symbolic function than an operational imperative. When Venezuela bought their F-16s without a viable maintenance or training program, the aircraft were reduced to symbolic function only — their operational teeth were missing (along with the logistical tail).
There exists an ongoing potential for turning-off maintenance and technological support for US high-tech weapons to countries that have fallen out of political favor with America. Combat effectiveness is a function of sophisticated weapons, and the the maintenance and support that keeps them operational. The cutoff in maintenance support was so effective against Iran that most of their most capable air defense interceptor — the F-14 Tomcat — became spare parts bins after US support was terminated.
In May 2006 Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez accused the United States of blocking the sale of replacement parts for Venezuela’s F-16 fighter jets and U.S. authorities have moved to block military sales to Caracas from Brazil and Spain. Chavez say he was considering the purchase of Russian Sukhoi airplanes, after US efforts to prevent Venezuela from buying military aircraft from other countries.
On 15 May 2006 the United States will suspend the sale and retransfers of U.S. arms to the Andean nation, according to the U.S. Department of State. The State Department certified to the U.S. Congress that Venezuela was “not fully cooperating” with U.S. anti-terrorism efforts, a designation that State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said was well earned. “They have been placed on this list and they have earned their spot honestly,” he said. McCormack cited Venezuela’s cultivation of relationships with state sponsors of terror, such as Cuba and Iran, and he indicated that these relationships have hindered intelligence-sharing and anti-terrorism cooperation with Venezuela. “Now, if you’re developing a much closer intelligence-sharing relationship with a state sponsor of terror, I think it’s only reasonable that the United States is going to say, ‘Wait a minute.’ We don’t know if we can reasonably cooperate with that sort of state because we are worried about a variety of consequences, including the sharing with a state sponsor of terror of information that we have provided on that very subject, trying to fight terror,” he explained. The “not fully cooperating” designation will end all commercial arms sales and retransfers to Venezuela.
In response, Gen. Alberto Muller, a senior adviser to Chavez, told The Associated Press he had recommended to the defence minister that Venezuela consider selling the 21 F-16 fighter jets to another country. Muller said he thought it was worthwhile to consider “the feasibility of a negotiation with Iran for the sale of those planes.”
Foreign Military Sales
The F-16 continues as the world’s most sought-after fighter. The year 2000 was one of the F-16’s best years for export orders. Firm export orders totaled 220 aircraft as follows: Israel (50), Greece (50), UAE (80), Korea (20) and Singapore (20). Also during the year, the U.S. Air Force ordered 14 additional F-16s with Fiscal Year 00/01 appropriations.
In December 2001 Israel exercised an option to purchase 52 F-16 fighter jets, for a total program value of about $2 billion. Israel’s sixth purchase of F-16s, the contract extendd the production base at Fort Worth plant through 2008, with deliveries beginning in 2003. Greece also purchased F-16s in 2001, Italy signed a lease for 34 inventory USAF F-16A/Bs, and the Defense Department announced plans to sell Oman a dozen of the jets.
Belgium was one of four European members of the NATO F-16 partnership, and one of two responsible for the European production of F-16s. The primary Belgian contractor in the F-16 program was the Societe Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aeronautiques (SABCA), which was responsible for the final assembly of F-16s intended for both Belgian and Danish service. Fabrique National manufactured the F100 engines for the F-16s of all four nations in the European consortium. In early 1978, the first European F-16 assembly line opened at SABCA, followed by the first flight of a Belgian-built F-16 in December 1978. The aircraft was accepted by the Belgian Air Force in January 1979. This was the first locally built F-16 to be delivered to a European operator. The original Belgian order was for 116 F-16 aircraft. Beginning in September 1981, 35 early-production Belgian F-16s were rotated back through the SABCA factory for cockpit modifications and avionics updates. The modifications effectively brought the aircraft to Block 10 standards. Delivery of these first 116 aircraft to the Belgian Air Force was completed in May 1985. A follow-on order of 44 Block 15 Operations Capability Upgrade (OCU) aircraft was placed in February 1983 and delivered between 1987 and 1991.
Denmark was a member of the four-nation consortium that first brought the Fighting Falcon to Europe. The initial Royal Danish Air Force order was for 58 aircraft. These planes went through final assembly in the Belgian Societe Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aeronautiques (SABCA) plant. All were built to the initial Block 1 standards. Deliveries to the Royal Danish Air Force began in January 1980. A follow-on order of 12 Block 15 F-16 aircraft was placed in August 1984. Intended as attrition replacements, these latter aircraft were built by Fokker in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands was one of the four start-up European NATO F-16 customers, along with Belgium, Denmark, and Norway. The initial Dutch order included 102 aircraft to be assembled at Fokker. This line first opened for business in April 1978, and was the second of the European F-16 final assembly lines to open. (SABCA in Belgium was the first.) The first Dutch-built F-16 took off on its maiden flight on May 3, 1979. Initial delivery of the F-16A/B to the Dutch Air Force took place in June 1979. In December 1983, the Dutch Parliament approved plans to increase its purchase of F-16s from 102 to 213 aircraft. In 1989, the Netherlands ordered an attrition replacement of 10 F-16As. The last F-16 rolled off the line at Fokker’s Schiphol plant in February 1990.
In 1970, Norway started looking for a replacement for its aging fleet of F-104 Starfighters. On July 21, 1975, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark ordered the F-16. Together, they formed the European consortium that was to build the F-16 under license. Norway acquired 72 F-16s from the Netherlands’ Fokker production line between January 1980 and June 1984. The first Fighting Falcon for the Royal Norwegian Air Force took off on its maiden flight on December 12, 1979.
In August of 1978, the government of Israel announced plans to acquire 75 F-16s. The first F-16 deliveries to Israel occurred under the Peace Marble I Foreign Military Sales program. The first four F-16s arrived in Israel in July 1980. Under Peace Marble II, the Israel Defense Force was supplied with 75 Block 30 F-16s. The first Block 30 F-16 arrived in October 1987. In May 1988, a follow-on order was placed for 60 Block 40 F-16s, plus an option for 15 more. The first of these Peace Marble III Fighting Falcons arrived in Israel in August 1991. The first of 50 surplus U.S. Air Force Block 10 F-16s was delivered on August 1, 1994, under the Peace Marble IV program. Delivery was completed in late 1994. In July 1999, Israel selected the F-16I over other competing aircraft, which led to a contract for 50 F-16D Block 52+ signed in January 2000, and an option for up to 60 more aircraft to be exercised in 2001. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics received a contract for 52 F-16 aircraft for Israel on 19 December 2001, significantly extending the firm F-16 production base. The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract for Israel officially exercises the option for 52 additional F-16I aircraft under the Peace Marble V program. Lockheed Martin’s contract value for the option is $1.3 billion out of a total program value of approximately $2 billion. The Peace Marble V aircraft will deliver during 2003 through 2006. The optional aircraft would be delivered in 2006 through 2008.
Egypt signed a letter of agreement in June 1980 to acquire 42 Block 15 F-16 fighters under the Peace Vector Foreign Military Sales program. The first aircraft was accepted by the Egyptian Air Force in January 1982. The first six planes arrived in Egypt in March 1982. In the Peace Vector II program, Egypt ordered 40 additional Block 32 F-16s. In October 1986, the first of these aircraft arrived in Egypt. The 242nd Regiment at Beni Suef began operating F-16Cs in October 1986. In June 1990, Egypt signed an order for 47 Block 40 F-16s, powered by the General Electric F110 turbofan engine. The first of these Peace Vector III F-16s was delivered to Egypt in October 1991. A contract to produce 46 Block 40 F-16C/Ds for the Egyptian Air Force was placed with TUSAS Aerospace Industries (TAI) of Turkey in 1993. Carried out under the Peace Vector IV program, this contract marked the first sale of a foreign-built Fighting Falcon to a third-party nation. The first aircraft was delivered in early 1994, and deliveries continued into 1995. All but one of the earlier F-16s for Egypt had originated on the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company production line. Egypt received 175 Fighting Falcons by the time all the TAI planes were delivered. In May 1996, Egypt signed a letter of agreement for 21 new F-16 Block 40 aircraft. This represented Egypt’s fifth F-16 order in 15 years. In June 1999, Egypt ordered 24 F-16 Block 40 aircraft under the Peace Vector VI program. These aircraft are being delivered during 2001 and 2002. They will be the last Block 40 aircraft produced.
In December 1981, the Republic of Korea signed a letter of agreement for the purchase of 36 F-16C/D Block 32 Fighting Falcons under the Peace Bridge Foreign Military Sales program. This made the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) the first foreign operator of the F-16C model of the Fighting Falcon. Funds remaining in the Peace Bridge program allowed the ROKAF to purchase four additional F-16 Block 32 aircraft in June 1988. On December 2, 1994, Korea received the first of 120 F-16s under the Korea Fighter Program. All aircraft were manufactured to the Block 52 standard and had upgraded avionics and Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engines. Under the terms of the agreement, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company manufactured the first 12 aircraft. The next 36 were then delivered in kit form and assembled in South Korea. Samsung Aerospace is building the last 72 aircraft in South Korea. South Korea is the fifth country to produce the F-16, after the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Turkey. The first Korean-built KF-16 was delivered in June 1997. In July 2000, Korea ordered 20 additional Block 52 F-16 aircraft to be produced by Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) under license. These aircraft comprise Korea Fighter Program II and will be delivered during 2003 and 2004.
In December 1981, the government of Pakistan signed a letter of agreement for the purchase of 40 F-16A/B (28 F-16A and 12 F-16B) fighters for the Pakistan Air Force. The first aircraft were accepted in October 1982. The Pakistani F-16s are all Block 15 aircraft, the final version of the F-16A production run. They are powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 turbofan engine. All 40 aircraft were delivered between 1983 and 1987. Pakistan ordered 71 additional Block 15 F-16 aircraft, 11 in December 1988 and 60 in November 1989. However, due to the U.S. embargo of military equipment, only 28 of these aircraft were built, and they were placed in storage at the U.S. Air Force Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center in Tucson, Ariz.
In May 1982, the government of Venezuela signed an agreement to buy 24 Block 15 F-16 aircraft. This purchase was under the Peace Delta Foreign Military Sales program. The first aircraft was accepted for the Venezuelan Air Force in September 1983.
In September 1983, the government of Turkey announced plans to buy 160 F-16s under the Peace Onyx I program, which operates under the Foreign Military Sales program. The first eight aircraft in the order were built at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, with the remaining 152 aircraft assembled in Turkey at TUSAS Aerospace Industries (TAI) at Murted. TUSAS is an acronym for Tusas Ucak Sanayii AS, or Turkish Aircraft Industries, a company owned jointly by Turkish and American shareholders. The Turkish Air Force received its first two F-16s as assembly kits in March 1987. Turkey officially received its first F-16D in July 1987. The first Turkish F-16s arrived at Murted Air Base in October 1987, followed by the first flight of a Turkish-built F-16 on October 20, 1987. Starting with the 44th aircraft, all Turkish Air Force F-16s from the first batch were manufactured to Block 40 standards. The first 43 F-16s were Block 30 versions. TAI has also been awarded a contract to build wings, center fuselages, and aft fuselages for U.S. Air Force F-16s. They have also been awarded a contract to build 46 Block 40 F-16C/Ds for the Egyptian Air Force under the Peace Vector IV program. In March of 1992, a follow-on order for 80 Block 50 F-16Ds was placed under the Peace Onyx II Foreign Military Sales program. TAI delivered these aircraft from TAI from 1996 to 1999.
In November 1984, Greece announced its decision to acquire 40 F-16 fighters to replace the country’s F-5A Freedom Fighter. The formal agreement was signed in January 1987. The first group of F-16C/Ds for Greece, acquired under the Peace Xenia I Foreign Military Sales program, were delivered between November 1988 and October 1989. They were Block 30 aircraft, powered by the General Electric F110-GE-100 turbofan engine. The first F-16D for the Hellenic Air Force was presented in November 1988. The first F-16C was delivered later that same month. In April 1993, Greece placed an order for 40 additional F-16 Block 50 fighters under the Peace Xenia II program. The aircraft are powered by the General Electric F110-GE-129 engine. The first two F-16 Block 50 aircraft for Greece rolled out of the factory at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company on the same day in January 1997 – more than a month ahead of schedule. In March 2000, Greece signed a letter of agreement for 50 Block 52+ F-16C/Ds under the Peace Xenia III program. These aircraft will deliver during 2002 and 2003. Greece had an option for 10 additional aircraft to be exercised in late 2001. In September of 2001, an FMS contract was signed for the Greece III option of 10 Block 52+ aircraft.
In January 1985, Singapore ordered eight F-16/79 fighters with General Electric J79 engines. Later that year the order was changed to the F-16A/B OCU Foreign Military Sale (FMS) configuration with the F100-PW-220 engine. This was the Peace Carvin Foreign Military Sales program. The first aircraft was delivered in February 1988 and the rest were delivered during that year. These aircraft were used for training Singapore Air Force pilots at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., until they were moved to Singapore in January 1990. In July 1994, Singapore signed a letter of agreement for 18 block 52 F-16C/D aircraft under the Peace Carvin II Foreign Military Sales program. The first aircraft was accepted in ceremonies on April 19, 1998. The rest of the aircraft were delivered during 1998. In July 1996, Singapore signed a commercial contract for lease of 12 new Block 52 aircraft to be used for training in the United States. These aircraft were delivered in the second half of 1998, and are currently in operation at Cannon Air Force Base, NM. In September 1997, Singapore ordered 12 more Block 52 F-16C/D aircraft under a commercial contract. The first delivery was in November 1999 and the last in April 2000. In November 2000, Singapore ordered 20 Block 52 aircraft under a commercial contract. These aircraft will be delivered between 2003 and 2005. In addition to purchasing and leasing new aircraft, Singapore has leased U.S. Air Force F-16s for pilot and maintenance training in the United States. Singapore leased nine ex-Thunderbird F-16A/B aircraft from 1993 to 1996, and a dozen Block 42 aircraft from 1996 to1998. Singapore Air Force personnel are currently training at Luke and Cannon Air Force Bases using their own and leased Block 52 aircraft.
In July 1987, Thailand obtained approval to order the F100-powered F-16. A letter of agreement was signed in December 1987 for the purchase of 18 F-16s under the Peace Naresuan Foreign Military Sales program. Thailand took delivery of its first F-16A at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. All of Thailand’s first F-16 order is for Block 15 aircraft. In September 1995, Thailand received the first aircraft of a second batch of 18 new F-16A/B Block 15 aircraft, including 12 A-models and six B-models. The last six of those F-16s were delivered to Thailand in February 1996. This event marked the end of production for all Block 15 F-16s. The Block 15 had been in continuous production for more than 14 years. At 983 aircraft, it is the F-16 block most produced. In July 2000, Thailand signed a letter of agreement for purchase of 16 F-16A/B Block 15 Air Defense Fighter versions from the U.S. Air Force inventory. Thailand is the fifth country to acquire used F-16s. Two additional aircraft are being procured for spares generation.
In August 1986, Indonesia signed a letter of agreement for 12 F-16A/B Block 15 aircraft. The first F-16 was delivered to the Indonesian Air Force in December 1989, under the Peace Bima-Sena Foreign Military Sales program. Deliveries were completed in 1990.
In March 1987, Bahrain signed a letter of agreement for 12 Block 40 F-16C/Ds in the Peace Crown Foreign Military Sales program. The first aircraft was delivered in ceremonies at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in March 1990. Bahrain signed a follow-on order in February 1998 providing for the purchase of 10 additional Block 40 F-16s, and these were delivered during 2000.
In August 1990, the Portuguese Air Force signed a letter of agreement for 20 F-16A/B Block 15 aircraft in the Peace Atlantis Foreign Military Sales program. These aircraft were fitted with restored F100-PW-220E engines. In a ceremony in February 1994, the first two aircraft were accepted. Those two aircraft and two additional aircraft were delivered to Portugal in July 1994. Portugal became the fifth European Participating Air Force (EPAF) as it joined the United States and original four EPAFs in the F-16 Multinational Fighter Program. In November 1998, Portugal signed a letter of agreement for 25 Excess Defense Article F-16A/B Block 15s. Twenty are being upgraded with the F-16A/B Mid-Life Update in Portugal, and the rest are being used to generate spares. In July 2000, Portugal announced its intention to upgrade its first 20 F-16s to the F-16A/B Mid-Life Update following the first batch of 20.
In November 1992, representatives of Taiwan and the United States signed an agreement for the sale of 150 Block 20 F-16 aircraft to Taiwan under the Peace Fenghuang Foreign Military Sales program. The Block 20 avionics configuration is very similar to the F-16A/B Mid-Life Update.
In July 1996, an agreement was signed between the United States and Jordan authorizing the lease of 16 F-16A/B Block 15 Air Defense Fighter version aircraft. A Foreign Military Sales support/training agreement was signed and designated Peace Falcon. The official rollout of the first F-16 for the Peace Falcon program occurred in October 1997 at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
In May 1988, the United Arab Emirates announced it had selected the advanced version of the F-16, culminating an intense competition. The program would involve major development, testing and purchase of 80 Block 60 aircraft. A commercial contract was signed in March 2000, and go-ahead occurred in June 2000. The Block 60 “Desert Falcon” configuration will include an APG-80 agile beam radar, an internalized forward-looking infrared targeting system, a new cockpit, internal electronic countermeasures, enhanced-performance F110-GE-132 engine, and conformal fuel tanks. The aircraft will be delivered in 2004 through 2006.
In March 2001, Italy signed a letter of agreement for lease and support of 34 F-16A/B Air Defense Fighter aircraft from U.S. Air Force inventory. Italy is the 21st F-16 customer, the sixth country to purchase used F-16s, and the second country to lease used F-16s. Four additional aircraft were acquired for spares generation.
After an intense four-year competition, on 27 December 2000 the Government of Chile announced its decision to purchase 10 to 12 new production Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft. By early 2002 the package had received all necessary U.S. government approvals. Chile will become the 21st country to operate the F-16. Chile will acquire a Block 50/52 configuration of the F-16C/D aircraft tailored to meet the specific requirements of the Chilean Air Force (FACH). The sale will include the aircraft, mission equipment and a support package provided by Lockheed Martin and many other U.S. contractors. The F-16 aircraft will replace the A-37 Dragonfly in FACH service. In the competition in Chile, the F-16 was selected over the Boeing F/A-18, Dassault Mirage 2000-5 from France and the SAAB Gripen from Sweden. The $700 million deal for 10 F-16 CD jets is the largest US arms sale to Latin America in two decades. The fighters are part of a package including spare parts, maintenance, training and two KC-135 tanker aircraft. The sale is the first authorized since President Clinton lifted a ban dating to the 1970s on such transfers to Latin America. The prohibition had remained in effect, even though in 1983 President Reagan allowed Venezuela to acquire 22 early-model F-16s.
In September 2002 the White House asked Congress to approve an amendment to the fiscal year 2003 budget providing for a $3.8 billion, 15-year loan to Poland for the purchase of 48 Lockheed Martin built F-16 fighter aircraft. This proposal would provide appropriate legislative authorization to implement a new, no subsidy-cost $3.8 billion Foreign Military Financing (FMF) 15-year loan to the government of Poland for the purchase of 48 F-16 aircraft, weapons, and related logistics support. The FMF loan financing is essential to ensure that Poland is able to purchase the F-16 aircraft, rather than European competitors. Poland would have 15 years to repay the loan, including a grace period of up to eight years. As of the end of December 2002 Lockheed appeared to have won a $3.5 billion contract to build 48 advanced F-16s for the Polish Air Force, the largest arms deal ever in Eastern Europe.
On April 18, Polish officials signed a deal to purchase 48 new F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from the United States. The deal reportedly worth nearly $3.6 billion, includes not only the actual airframe, but also support equipment and training for Polish pilots and maintenance crews. Polish pilots are to be trained by airmen from the Air National Guard’s 162nd Fighter Wing at Tucson International Airport, AZ while maintainers are also to train with 162nd FW airmen and with specialists from the aircraft’s manufacturer, Lockheed-Martin. As of mid-April 2003, the United States was expected to deliver the first of 48 Block 52 F-16s in 2006, for a total package of 36 F-16C models and 12 of the F-16D two-seater models.