September 7, 2004 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The United Arab Emirates prepare to complete new facilities for its F-16E/F Desert Falcon. The first batch of the 80 F-16s on order is scheduled to arrive in the UAE by the end of 2004.
The first UAEAF F-16F block 60. Note the Conformal Fuel Tanks, Internal Flir housing, and the numerous bulges for RWRs. [LMTAS
has been constructing and modernizing two air force bases to house the F-16 block 60
The F-16s will be based at the Al Dhafra air base in the Abu Dhabi emirate. UAE officials said this air base would be completed in time for the arrival of the first F-16s by the end of 2004.
The Al-Minhad air base outside Dubai will also house the new jets. Al-Minhad will be completed in 2005.
The Desert Falcon will have special fuel tanks for extended range, new cockpit displays, a new mission computer and other advanced features including US Northrop Grumman radar for improved tracking of multiple targets.
Delivery of the aircraft will be completed in 2008 and US pilots and air force experts will be present in the UAE to handle training and logistics.