Jordan

Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Malakiya al Urduniya
Royal Jordanian Air Force - RJAF


Introduction

The Royal Jordanian Air Force operates a total of 64 F-16A/B aircraft, 16 of which are ADFs, while the remaining 39 are MLUs or have been modified to MLU standard.

History

In July of 1994, King Hussein of Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel, ending over 40 years of hostility between these two nations. Shortly thereafter, the government of Jordan began to lobby within the American government to purchase as many as 42 F-16A/B Fighting Falcons. This request had been awaiting approval for quite a while.

The country which might be most directly affected by the whole deal, Israel, was an enthusiastic supporter of the transfer of 16 F-16s to Jordan and has been one of the principal advocates in urging the US Government to go forward with the deal.


The Jordanian AF operates its F-16s from HAS - Hardened Aircraft Shelters [Photo by Jim Hedges]

Inventory

Peace Falcon I

On July 29th, 1996, a $220 million agreement was signed between the United States and Jordan authorizing the lease of 16 F-16 fighter jets (12 F-16A and 4 F-16B aircraft) to Jordan. This agreement, formally signed by Field Marshal Marei, chief of staff of the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces and Major General Ababneh, chief of staff of the Royal Jordanian Air Force, was linked to the Middle East peace process and close US-Jordanian relations. The complete material/training support agreement, known as the F-16 Peace Falcon Program, includes funding for aircraft structural upgrades, engine modifications, support equipment and spare parts procurement, and pilot/maintenance training.

The agreement consisted of two lease contracts and a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LoA). The first lease was a no-cost lease for Jordan, covering 13 aircraft (12 A models and 1 B model, block 15 OCU's that were modified into ADF (Air Defense Fighters) versions. Under the Arms Export Control Act, the DOD was able to provide these aircraft at a no-cost lease because they had flown off over 75 percent of their life (i.e. more than 3,000 hour). Three of the B-model aircraft still had more than 25 percent of their life left and they fall under the second $4.5 million lease. Both leases cover a 5 year period. The LOA is for $215 million, covering all costs associated with upgrading those aircraft, doing the structural modifications to them, the engine upgrades, providing the support equipment, the logistics, the training.

The aircraft, all of which have flown previously by active Air Force and Air National Guard units, had been in storage for at least a year at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC) at Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona before they were shipped to Hill AFB, Utah. There the Aircraft Directorate personnel from the Ogden Air Logistics Center performed structural upgrades to extend aircraft life from the designed 4,000 to 8,000 hours flying time as part of the Falcon-Up/Service Life Improvement program. They also modified the aircraft engine bay to accept the upgraded Pratt and Whitney F100-220E engine. New ground was broken with this Foreign military Sales program: taking 'used' F-16s from the desert (AMARC), completely refurbishing and modifying them and delivering the aircraft to the customer within a 17-month time frame.

On October 14th, 1997, Lt. Col. Scott Curtis, flying safety officer at Hill AFB, pushed the throttles forward and released the brakes on his F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft. Within a matter of seconds the aircraft accelerated to 140 knots and the first Jordanian F-16 (tail number #80-0547) was airborne. It took more than 13,000 man-hours to get this F-16 ready for its first flight. The #80-0547 had not flown since November 1994, when it was flown from the ANG Station in Garden City, N.J. to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, Davis-Monthan, Arizona. The official roll-out of the Peace Falcon was on October 28th, 1997, on Hill AFB, Utah.

The Jordan program required that six aircraft be available for ferry flight delivery to Jordan in December 1997, and five each to be available for ferry flight in January and February 1998. At that time, the RJAF planned to acquire as much as 50-70 F-16s (if possible C/D models), enough to equip 3 squadrons.


Four-ship RJAF F-16A formation over the Jordanian desert [Photo by Jim Hedges]

Peace Falcon II

There have been talks about a second batch of 16 refurbished F-16s, which would have been delivered under the Peace Falcon II program. After initial talks in 1999, no further news has become available about this program. The RJAF is still looking for a replacement for its obsolete F-5 fighters which are due within a couple of years. They are in favor of acquiring another batch of F-16s for this replacement.

On January 29th, 2003, numerous sources indicated that Jordan received 6 F-16 fighters that day in a ceremony held at Shahid Muafaq Al-Satlti AFB. This ceremony was attended by prince Faisal bin Hussain and US ambassador Jordan Edward W. Gnehm. The US embassy in Amman stated that these 6 aircraft were the first of a batch of another 17 (12 A's and 5 B's) that would be delivered to Jordan during the year 2003. All these aircraft are former US ANG F-16 ADF's. These aircraft are to be upgraded with the MLU modification (See Modifications and Armament).

Ultimately, 16 A-models and 1 B-model was delivered to the RJAF. Most of those airframes were put into storage waiting for their MLU conversion. In 2008 these modifications were in full swing at the TUSAS facility in Ankara, Turkey. By 2009 all of those modified airframes will be delivered back to Jordan for operational use.

Peace Falcon III

In 2005 the RJAF contacted the Dutch and Belgian governments for a batch of F-16s. In April of 2006 representatives of both air forces flew to Amman to sign a Letter of Intent for the acquisition of up to 22 ex-Dutch (8 airframes) and ex-Belgian (14 airframes) F-16s. The lot would consist of 17 A-models and 5 B-models (Netherlands: 5 A-models, 3 B-models; Belgium: 12 A-models, 2 B-models). All these aircraft have undergone the MLU upgrade which gives the Jordanians a serious boost in air power and also a sneek preview of the possibilities they will gain after their entire fleet is upgraded with this package. The aircraft are due to be delivered in 2007-2008.

In 2009, a total of 16 Belgian F-16s (12 A's and 4 B's) were delivered, but the Dutch order for A-models was canceled. By that time it became apperant that only the 3 B-models of the first purchase from the Netherlands and the 3 B-models included in the second purchase would be handed over to Jordan during 2009 as part of Peace Falcon IV.


RJAF F-16AM #152 seen landing at Aviano AB on March 19th, 2009, during a stopover before continuing onto Jordan. This aircraft is ex-BAF #FA-90. [Photo by Marco Sommacal]

Peace Falcon IV

Completely out of the blue the Dutch Secretary of Defence announced at the Dubai Air Show in November of 2005 that he had signed a Letter of Intent for the purchase of 3 F-16B's by the RJAF. The aircraft are to be used as training assets and are due for delivery in 2006.

In the end, the number of aircraft was raised to 6. All of them being F-16BM's. The delivery of those was postponed untill the summer of 2009.

Peace Falcon V

In 2009 the Belgian government decided to put another 9 F-16AM's for sale. The first country to respond was Jordan and negotiations have been ongoing till 2011. Finally the delivery consisted of 6 F-16AM's and 3 F-16BM's, all delivered in July of 2011. The number of Jordanian F-16s rises to 64 airframes with this delivery.

Peace Falcon VI

The Dutch government announced in 2012 that it was to sell another 15 airframes with it's force being reduced to 68 airframes. Jordan again was a candidate to aquire those airframes (consisting of 13 A-models and 2 B-models). Final negotiations took place in the summer of 2013 with delivery of those 15 airframes set to 2014. This order will take the number of F-16s within the RJAF up to 79. The future will tell us which squadron will be equiped with these new airframes and if another type (the F-5E) will be replaced or not.

RJAF Inventory
Program Model Block Qty. Serials Delivered
Peace Falcon I F-16A Block 15 ADF 12 220/231 1997-1998
F-16B Block 15 ADF 4 232/235 1997-1998
Peace Falcon II F-16A Block 15 ADF 16 671/686 2003
F-16B Block 15 ADF 1 670 2003
Peace Falcon III F-16A Block 20MLU 12 140/150, 152 2008-2009
F-16B Block 20MLU 4 136/139 2008-2009
Peace Falcon IV F-16B Block 20MLU 6 133/138 2009
Peace Falcon V F-16A Block 20MLU 6 153/158 2011
F-16B Block 20MLU 3 159/161 2011
Peace Falcon VI F-16A Block 20MLU 13 XXX 2014
F-16B Block 20MLU 2 XXX 2014

Modifications & Armament

Mid-life Update

For a number of years the Royal Jordanian AF recognized the need to give the leased aircraft a mid-life update in the next 2 or 3 years. It was unclear for a long time whether reference was made to the MLU-program, or just to updates in general.

In January of 2004 however a LOA for an $87 million contract was signed between Jordan and Lockheed-Martin for the update of the 17 Peace Falcon II aircraft. This modification consists of enhancements to the cockpit, avionics, sensors and weapons. These upgrades also improve system reliability and supportability. Together with this upgrade this package also includes Falcon UP and Falcon STAR structural upgrades. These structural upgrades will extend the service life to 8,000 flight hours with these aircraft being able to remain in service for another 20 years. The upgrades will be performed by Turkish Aerospace Industries in its Ankara fascilities.

Armament and Stores

Main armament of the RJAF F-16s is the AIM-9 Sidewinder, although the RJAF was hoping to acquire the AIM-120 AMRAAM for a long time. On November 24th, 2004 a deal was announced in which Jordan would receive up to 50 AIM-120C missiles and associated equipment in a deal worth $39 million.

Operational Service

Units

Please refer to the F-16 Units section for an overview of units.


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