Tag Archives: Jordan

Jordan sells F-16s… and gains F-16s

Jordan is offering fifteen used but serviceable F-16A/B Midlife Update (MLU) models in a move that seems strange in the light of the pending arrival of… fifteen very similar F-16 MLU models previously operated by the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) aircraft are offered on the air force’s website.

The Jordanian offer comes complete with a list of the actual aircraft for sale. They are all jets that orginally flew with the US Air Force in the eighties an nineties and were delivered to Jordan under the Peace Falcon II contract from 2003 onwards. Prior to 2009, all were updated to MLU standard in Turkey.

Hours

Airframe hours range from 4,600 to 6,000 hours and some phase inspections were completed as late as December 2015 and even January 2016. The jets underwent the Falcon UP and Falcon STAR structural upgrades as well, extending projected service lifes to about 8,000 hours.

Habit

Jordan has a habit of purchasing used F-16s while at the same time selling aircraft of the same type. Pakistan received a batch of former RJAF F-16s, the first of which arrived in Pakistan in April 2014. In turn, disused Belgian and Dutch F-16s found their ways to Jordan before, some of which were used for Jordan’s contribution in the fight against so-called Islamic State in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.

It would be no surprise if Pakistan snatches up Jordan’s latest F-16 offer as well, although Islamabad also eyes a small batch of brand new and more advanced F-16C/D jets from Lockheed Martin.

The current Jordanian F-16 fleet is estimated to be around 64 aircraft-strong. The second batch of used Dutch aircraft should find its way to the Middle Eastern country soon. The aircraft are currently being prepared for transfer in the Netherlands.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A Jordanian F-16. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

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)

Jordan flies dozen Israeli Cobras “as border patrol”

Jordan flies about a dozen ex-Israeli Air Force Bell AH-1E/F Cobras in the “border patrol”, counter-insurgency role and in operations against so-called Islamic State forces, according to a fresh report by Reuters.

The international press agency quotes sources with insight in the deal, in which Israel apparently has transferred 16 of its decommissioned Bell attack helicopters to its Arab neighbour. Some are used for spare parts, but it is believed that 10 to 12 actually do fly. The Royal Jordanian Air Force already received 32 ex-US Army AH-1Fs, delivered in the late 1990s and beginning of the 2000s. About 20 to 25 of those are believed to still be operational, flying out of Zarqa Airbase, although some sources say only 12 are in flyable condition.

The location of the ex-Israeli Cobras is unknown, but may very well be a forward operating base aligned to the Cobra units based at Zarqa. Israeli Air & Space Force’s 160 Squadron flew the Cobras until it was disbanded in 2013 for budgetary and safety reasons. Jerusalem tried to sell the attack choppers to Nigeria first, but that deal was blocked by the United States as we reported earlier.

2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: An Israeli Air Force AH-1 during live fire demonstration on 28 June 2011 at the IAF Academy (Image (CC) Oren Rozen)

Belgian Vipers withdraw from fight against IS

Belgian Air Component F-16s no longer take part in operations against IS-forces in Iraq. The six fighter aircraft and 120 personnel returned home on 2 July after ending their participation earlier in the week.

The Belgians had been supporting operations from October 2014, flying from an airbase in Jordan along with Dutch F-16s. The latter are continuing their effort, albeit with four aircraft instead of six used earlier.

The Belgians withdrew their aircraft since the government in Brussels did not allocate any more budget to the operation.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (above):  A Belgian Air Component F-16. (Image © Marcel Burger)

Dutch reduce ISIS fighting force

The Netherlands is reducing its airborne effort in fighting the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) forces in Iraq. According to sources in The Hague the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) will start sending its F-16s home from the operations base in Jordan.

Due to the increasing need for maintenance, costs and worries about the combat capability (read: lack of training for other missions) continuation of the entire RNLAF contribution to the international military effort to fight ISIS was in doubt.

The military and political leadership of the Netherlands now opt to reduce the number of F-16s dispatched to Jordan from the current six to four, plus two fighter jets in reserve. Plans call to keep the mission going until the end of June 2016 and there seems to be a majority in the Dutch parliament supporting the decision.

Belgian Air Component
There are still Dutch hopes for a rotating deployment in cooperation with Belgium. The Belgian Air Component currently flies six F-16s separately from the same base in Jordan as the RNLAF does, but Brussels says there is no money left to continue the mission after June.

But the Dutch decision that will be made public on Friday might influence the Belgians to reconsider sending a quartet of F-16s (plus two reserve) in October for a 3 month deployment, to be taken over by the RNLAF again in January 2016. High-level talks on this matter have already been done prior to the decision making.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Formation of Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s (Image © Dennis Spronk)