‘Well used’ is a term that would definitely apply to former Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-16A and B models. Nevertheless, Tel Aviv has offered the type to Croatia as a replacement for its even more vintage MiG-21s. At the same time, Colombia is said to be interested in former Israeli F-16s to take the place of its troubled Kfir fighter aircraft – yes, also from Israel.
Israel received its first F-16A Netz (Hawk in Hebrew) in July 1980, the irony being that it concerned aircraft that were first destined for Iran. The Netz saw extensive use with the (IAF) and made headlines by bombing the Osirak nuclear plant in Iraq on 7 June 1981.
Over the last decades, F-16C/D Barak (Lightning) and F-16I Sufa (Storm) took over frontline duties, with the Netz being used to train pilots. Recently, the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 has been taking over the training role.
Surplus F-16s are now being offered to Croatia in ACE configuration. This Israel-made update involves a new fire control radar, a helmet-mounted display capability and new cockpit displays. The bid sees competition from Sweden (Saab Gripen C/D) and the US (used F-16C/D).
Meanwhile, Colombia is not happy at all with its small fleet of Israeli made Kfir fighter aircraft since one of the type crashed on 31 December last year. Rumours about a possible Mirage 2000 deal with France proved unfounded, and now the Colombians seem to have turned to Israel once again, inquiring about the F-16 Netz.
According to sources, the ACE modification also added about 1,000 flight hours of service life to the old F-16s, which without a doubt are among the most hard-used F-16s anywhere.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): Two Israeli F-16A Netz jets come in for landing. (Image © IAF)