The Mid-Life Update programme was mainly intended to backport some of the F-16C/D avionics improvements to the F-16 fleets of the original European operators. This photgraph shows MLU
aircraft from Belgium
, the Netherlands
, and Norway
Two operational F-16 models were actially converted from older airframes. The first is the F-16 block 15 ADF
(Air Defense Fighter), a variant specifically designed for the USAF to take over the interception role from the ageing F-106 and F-102 aircraft, traditionally assigned to the Fighter Intercept Squadrons of the Air National Guard. The F-16 ADF
was capable of firing the AIM-7 Sparrow and was the first F-16 to be equiped with an advanced IFF
system. All ADF airframes were converted from existing block 15 aircraft.
The second operational converted model is the F-16 block 20 MLU
. This Mid-Life Upgrade was designed to significantly increase the operational capabilities of the older block 1-5-10-15 aircraft still in service with the four original European customers (Belgium
, The Netherland and Norway
). It introduced many C/D capabilities into the A/B models, including a new Modular Mission Computer, upgraded radar, advanced stores management, etc. Most MLU aircraft are by definition upgrades of existing A/B aircraft. The majority of MLUs were upgraded from block 15
and block 15OCU
airframes, with a small portion upgraded from block 1
, 5 and 10.
As far as the experimental models are concerned, all of them (both F-16XL
and NF-16) were converted from the limited batch of F-16A Full-Scale Development aircraft, of whch 8 were built - 6 F-16As and 2 F-16Bs. Interestingly enough, even the F-16B XL was converted from an F-16A airframe.