Mrt 15 2011

USAF F-16 Block 25 service life extension to 10.800 hours

Gepubliceerd door om 19:48 onder Aanschaf JSF

In a document prepared March 14, 2011 by Staffers of the members of the Subcommittee of the Armed Forces of the U.S. House of Representatives one may read some interesting details about the planned life-extension programs of the F-16 Block 25/32.

The Air Force operates a strike fighter fleet of F-22, F-15, F-16, and A-10 aircraft.
(….)The Air Force believes that targeted actions are required to address capability and capacity gaps which include F-22 modernization, F-35 acquisition, legacy service life extension program and modernization and investments in preferred weapons capabilities.
(…) Recent delays in the F-35 program have required the Air Force to fund a structural sustainment program for F-16 blocks 25 to 32 so that those aircraft can achieve a service life extension from 8,000 to 10,800 hours. Additionally, the Air Force plans for fund a service life extension program (SLEP) for 300 F-16 blocks 40 and 50 aircraft so that those aircraft can also be operated to 10,000 hours. The Air Force believes that the structural sustainment program for F-16 blocks 25 to 32 and the SLEP for F-16 blocks 40 and 50 aircraft can contain its strike fighter shortfall to 32 aircraft within the next six years.
The Air Force is also concerned about a strike fighter capability gap and believes that F-22 modernization and F-35 acquisition are essential to close the 5th generation capability gap which would enable strike fighter operations in the most stressing integrated air defense environments. Additional F-35 production and development schedule delays will increase the Air Force’s capacity and capability risks.

Service life of Norwegian, Danish and Dutch F-16s seems to be only 6.000 hours and life extension isn’t possible as stated by the respective Ministers of Defence in Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands. In 2001 these countries decided to participate in the F-35 Program, because “Replacement of the F-16 would be urgently required around 2010″. Dutch F-16s have flown between 3.500 and 4.000 hours at this moment.


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