Lockheed Martin F-16A-15 & F16B-15 Fighting Falcon
|The New Zealand Government
announced on December 1st, 1998, that it would lease-buy the 28
Pakistani F-16s which had been kept in storage
AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB to replace New Zealand's remaining
19 A-4K Skyhawks.
The aircraft were stored at AMARC in 1990 as a direct result of an embargo against Pakistan due to tensions between Pakistan and India. Pakistan had originally paid Lockheed-Martin for the aircaft in 1990, but the US Congress blocked delivery over concerns about that country's developing nuclear capacity. The aircraft were put into flyable hold for 5 years, during which time 85% of each aircraft's fuel system was preserved with JP-9, and each aircraft had its engine run once every 45 days. As a result, most of those aircraft had more engine run time than airtime, the latter being only 6 hours. This low air-time figure, plus the fact that these aircraft are the most modern F-16A/Bs ever built, is one of reasons why New Zealand decided to buy these second-hand F-16s. The aircraft were also thoroughly inspected to ensure that they were still in a technically sound condition.
New Zealand's government cexpected to make a signifigant savings by leasing the aircraft. The 10-year lease for the F-16A/B block 15OCU fighters costs about NZ$200 million (USD$105 million) and save NZ$431 million over the cost of buying new planes in the next century. The government opted to acquire the F-16s under a lease-buy deal, with payments spread over 10 years and delivery starting in 30 months.
In 2002 the newly elected New Zealand government decided to abandon the plans to replace the A-4K with the Pakistani F-16s disband the RNZAF's Air Combat capability.
If delivered, the aircraft would have been operated by 75 Squadron at Ohakea and No. 2 Squadron detachment based at Nowra, NSW in Australia providing air attack training for the Royal Australian Navy.
In 2002, with the New
Zealand deal fallen through, the US finally stopped trying to
sell the aircraft and decided to assign them to the USAF for test duties
and the US Navy to fill the Aggressor role. After the demise of the
(T)F-16N aggressor force, the US Navy lacked a high-performance
aggressor aircraft. Because of the low airframe life of the embargoed
Pakistani F-16s, these airframes were ideally suited for the demanding
aggressor role. The 28 aircraft were thus evenly split between the USAF
and the US Navy.
On March 25th, 2005, the US Government
announced that it had agreed to Pakistan's request to sell new F-16s.
Initially, Pakistan requested an additional 24 new Block 50/52 F-16C/Ds
(with option for as much as 55 aircraft).
Deliveries of these 26 airframes to Pakistan commenced in 2008.
Author: Brendan Cowan
Sources: http://www.joebaugher.com , http://www.rnzaf.proboards.com , http://www.f-16.net , http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/milf16r.htm , http://www.beehive.govt.nz/feature/review-f16-aircraft-royal-new-zealand-airforce , http://www.airforce.mil.nz/ , http://www.defence.pk , http://www.worldmilitair.com/ ,
Emails: Martin Edwards
Updated 12 February 2014
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