F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Dutch F-16s grounded due to a shortage of maintenance personnel

March 29, 2007 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Due to a shortage of maintenance personnel and a chronical lack of spare parts only 40 out of 105 Dutch F-16s are operational, according to the Dutch news paper 'de Telegraaf'.

Left side ECS of a Dutch F-16 with its primary and secondary air-to-air heat exchanger and water separator. [Photo by Bas Meijerink]

As the fleet gets older, the jets need maintenance more often.

The Royal Dutch Air Force also faces a lack of technicians. For the maintenance of their C-130 Hercules transporter aircraft and helicopters extra personnel is needed too. A lot of this highly educated personnel chooses for a more quiet and better paid job in civilian life.

A shortage of spare part also forces the F-16s to stay grounded. Suppliers from the U.S. give preference to U.S. customers for the delivery of spares. The Dutch crew chiefs now have to improvise by canibalising other F-16s.

A few political parties call for a reduction of the F-16 fleet. With the money that could be freed up like this, more personnel could be trained. Other options would be to raise the salaries of the maintenance personnel are to exchange technical personnel within the NATO.


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Additional images:

Overview of Belgian F-16s being salvaged for parts reclamation at the Rocourt Army facility in January of 2005. [Photo by Tomahawk]

Some small parts reclamed from a BAF F-16 at Rocourt on June 21st, 2005. [Military Aircraft Collection photo by Michael Stolle]

Hell's Kitchen Villa '96. This rare Italian made patch was created for Dutch personnel involved in flying operations at Villafranca in 1996. [MSgt Paul Perron collection]