More Belgian F-16s for Jordan?
The Royal Jordanian Air force’s fighter fleet currently consists of F-16 A/B, Mirage F1, and F-5 E/F Tiger II fighters. In recent years, the Jordanians have sought to strengthen their air force with surplus F-16s from European countries. “Jordan Buys 20 F-16 MLU from Holland, Belgium” covered an earlier purchase set, and deliveries have begun. Now, another purchase may be on the way.
DID subscriber David Vandenberghe has looked at Parliamentary documents, and also at a Jan 15/09 De Standaard article. Current estimates peg maintenance savings at EUR 3 million per aircraft, and a certain portion of that could be expected to come out of Belgian firm SABCA’s maintenance contract. According to Forecast International, De Standaard has reported that officials from Jordan and Belgium are finalizing a deal for 8-9 more F-16s, at the bargain price of EUR 7 million (about $9.25 million). A Parliamentary Defence Committee document dated Jan 14/09 [PDF] states a set transaction price of EUR 32 million, however, which seems more reasonable.
Under Belgium’s 2000-2015 Modernization plan, the Belgian Defense Forces plan to keep just 60 F-16s in the fleet, to create a total of 48 operational aircraft (46 for NATO duties and 2 for domestic air defense). At present, 68 upgraded F-16 MLU aircraft are reported to remain. with foreign sales, wear, operational losses, and storage accounting for the rest of the 160 F-16A/B aircraft that were bought in 1979.