Norway could also place some of its F-16A / B MLUs on the second-hand market

(To Stefano Peverati)
29/03/21

The Norwegian Defense Material Agency (NDMA) has entered into a contract with Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services (KAMS) to recondition a pair of F-16s Fighting Falcon of the Luftforsvaret (RNoAF, Royal Norwegian Air Force) that despite being decommissioned from active service may still be viable aircraft on the market for low-budget nations or private companies.

The contract will initially involve two F-16s, with the possibility of overhauling up to three additional aircraft. Work on the F-16s will take place at KAMS facilities in Kjeller, near Oslo, and if the option is exercised the last three aircraft should be ready by the end of 2021. The fighters will return to operational status and therefore maintained that they are ready for service again. KAMS has 40 years of experience in servicing, repairing and upgrading the Norwegian F-16 fleet.

A large number of F-16s decommissioned by the RNoAF could potentially be refurbished and then later ready for sale. Second exchange nl it is estimated that currently the Luftforsvaret has decommissioned 18 F-16AMs and 4 F-16BMs from active service which are destined to increase as the F-35A goes into service lightning II and this could involve a significant amount of work for KAMS in Kjeller. The NDMA, in fact, is striving to obtain the best possible profit on aircraft sales.

Jonny M Otterlei, technical director of the NDMA, said more nations will sell their F-16 aircraft in the near future. "Our market surveys show that it is a good idea to create an attractive offer regarding aircraft quality and remaining flight time. This contract with KAMS gives us an opportunity and this contract also helps maintain the experience. Norwegian industrialist in the maintenance of combat aircraft ".

Norway was one of the first four European air forces participating in the F-16 program to replace the F-104s Starfighter and Oslo ordered in 1975 72 F-16A / B Fighting Falcon which were delivered between 1980 and 1984, subsequently in 1989 two further specimens of F-16B were ordered to replace two lost counterparts (F-16B 301 on 13/11/84 and F-16B 303 on 12/06/85 ). Since 1997 56 examples of F-16s have been upgraded as part of the program Mid-Life Upgrade.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon of the RNoAF have served with the 332 skv (1980-2015) and 334 skv (1982-2002) in Bodø, and with the 338 skv in Ørland (1985-2019). Today, the F-16AM / BM remain in force only at the 331 skv in Bodø while the 332 skv, which moved to Ørland, has transited to the F-35A.

The F-16AM / BM are still interesting aircraft for nations that need to equip themselves with a multi-role aircraft, but which cannot face the purchase costs of modern material. These nations, in fact, once they have acquired the second-hand machines, can evaluate the possibility of upgrading to F-16V.

Over the past decade F-16AM / BM from the Dutch and Belgian surpluses have been sold to Chile, Jordan and Pakistan, while more recently Portuguese units have been sold to Romania, the last of which was delivered to Romanian in these days. Air Force, in addition to the 29 Mesh Israelis sold to the Canadian company Top Aces.

Photo: Luftforsvaret