Tag Archives: Fighting Falcon

Official: “RNLAF jets bombed Syria only four times”

The four Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16AM/BM fighter jets deployed to Jordan to bomb the so-called Islamic State forces in Syria, have only done that four times this year.

The information is included in a letter of Dutch minister of Defence Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert to the Dutch parliament in The Hague.

Communication limits have made the RNLAF jets less useful to international community fighting ISIS / ISIL / Daesh and the United States, which is leading the operations. Since February, when the F-16s were cleared for the Syrian operations, the aircraft only flew seven mission in total in the skies of that nation.

More on the problems with the operational usefulness of the Dutch F-16s in Syria, you can read on our earlier published article here on Airheadsfly.com.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

To be killed in mid-air: US Air Force orders 30 more QF-16s

They will not end their flying days in glory, but they are still aircraft of some sort: the Boeing/Lockheed Martin QF-16. The multi-role fighter turned into full-scale aerial target is increasing in numbers, now that Boeing got a US Air Force order for another 30 QF-16s.

While Lockheed Martin still has high hopes for the newest V-version of the legendary Fighting Falcon once designed, developed and initially produced by General Dynamics in the 1970s, the older kids on the block are about to be shot out of the sky. Literately, as the whole purpose of a full-scale aerial target is to train modern fighter jocks in other aircraft in aerial combat.

QF-16 will get killed

Piloted remotely by a guy or girl with hands on the sticks on the ground, the QF-16 will get killed in mid-air by the cannon or missiles fired from other aircraft that hunt it down. QF-16s can still be operated like normal jets, with a real pilot in the cockpit, for training or test sorties.

Fourth batch

American tax payers will spend more than 35 million on the fourth batch (Lot 4) of 30 QF-16s. Work will be done in St. Louis, Missouri, and the last of the aircraft now ordered will enter service of its probably short mission life in April 2018.

At Tyndell AFB

In March 2015 the US Air Force started to build up its fleet of tens of QF-16s with the first 13 aircraft (Lot 1), with the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Florida. As you read on Airheadsfly.com the QF-16s are replacing the Vietnam War era QF-4 in that role. The first flight of the QF-16 was in September 2013, and we show you the cool video footage.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The first unmanned QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target flight on Sept. 19 at Tyndall Air Force Base (Image © Staff Sergeant Javier Cruz/USAF)

Dutch F-16s cleared for Syria ops

The Dutch goverment on Friday formally approved F-16 operations against Daesh forces in Syria. Since October 2014, Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) jets are already involved in offensive flights over Iraq.

Until this week, one of two Dutch government parties was opposed to actions over Syria, saying there was no international mandate for military actions over the country. Recent terrorist attacks in Paris in Jakarta changed the party’s point of view however.

Four RNLAF F-16s operate from Jordan, with two more in reserve. Their participation is supposed to end later this year, with Belgian F-16s taking their place.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: An F-16 pilot await his turn to refuel. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

US approval for Iraqi F-16 weapons arsenal

The US has approved an Iraqi request for weapons for its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s. The request and subsequent approval gives more insight into the capabilities Iraqi Air Force F-16 should offer in the near future, for example in the fight against Daesh forces. For a long time, the US was hesitant to even allow the F-16s to be delivered to Iraq in fear of Islamic rebels taking over the country.

The approval concerns twenty Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), 24 AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, 150 AGM-65D Maverick air-to-ground missiles, no less than 14,120 500lb General Purpose (GP) guided or unguided bombs, 2,400 similar 2,000 lb GP bombs, plus 8,400 Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) Paveway tail kits. Support, training and maintenance are included in the contract as well.

The Iraqi Air Force is to gain a considerably strike capability if it indeed pushes ahead with the purchase at an estimated cost of The estimated cost is 1.95 billion USD.

The first of 36 Iraqi F-16s flew for the first time on 7 May 2014. The first batch of aircraft was first send to Tucson, Arizona, for training. In reality, the US wasn’t eager to send the aircraft to Iraq as the country – or at least the airbase the F-16s were planned to go – was on the verge of being overrun by Daesh forces.

In July 2015, the first four aircraft finally arrived in Iraq. Two more follow this January.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

Bahrain Air Force F-16 down in Yemen war ops

A F-16 fighter jet of the Royal Bahraini Air Force went down in southern Saudi Arabia while being involved in the air operations against Huthi ground forces in Yemen.

According to a statement from the Saudi-led coalition forces that fight in Yemen, the Lockheed Martin jet suffered a technical error. The pilot is said to have ejected the plane before the jet hit the ground in the Jazan region of Saudi Arabia. Although his status is called “safe” no details of his whereabouts have been released.

Moroccan F-16 crash

The RBAF jet crash is the fourth known loss for the Arab coalition fighting in Yemen. A Saudi Armed Forces AH-64 was shot down on 21 August. In May 2015 a Moroccan F-16 crashed, killing the pilot. A Saudi fighter pilot was rescued by US forces after a technical failure downed his F-15S Eagle in March 2015.

Bahraini Fighter Strength

With the loss of the jet today, the RBAF’s combat strength is down to 24 fighter aircraft: 24 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 40s and eight Northrop F-5E/F Tigers. The Bahraini fighter wing operates from Isa Airbase, with 1st and 2nd Fighter Squadron flying the F-16s, and 6th Fighter Squadron operating the Tiger.

Aging Bahraini F-16s

Just in August this year the Royal Bahraini Air Force filed for follow-on support from the US. “The RBAF’s F-16s are aging and periodic maintenance is becoming increasingly expensive,” the US Ministry of Defense wrote to the US Senate while commenting on the proposed deal worth US$ 150 million.

Operation Restoring Hope

Before Bahrain committed to the Saudi-led Operation Restoring Hope (called Operation Decisive Storm until 21 April 2015), its F-16s were contributing to Operation Inherent Resolve fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A F-16C of the Royal Bahraini Air Force (Image © Bahraini Ministry of Defence)