181 Filo was the first squadron in Diyarbakir to receive the new F-16. Like most squadrons within the Turkish Air Force, these are of the block 40 version. Diyarbakir AB was the last to convert to the block 40 version since Turkish orders for new F-16s in later acquisitions were of the block 50 version. The F-16 replaced the F-104G Starfighter, as in most European NATO countries. The squadron was mainly tasked with attack missions and this task remained with the arrival of the new fighter, although all kind of missions can be flown with the F-16.
With the block 40 came new capabilities. Although the aircraft is capable of flying advanced mission profiles, 181 Filo does hardly use them because they lack an advanced targeting or navigation system as LANTIRN or an equivalent system. This of course seriously restricts operations.
TuAF F-16C block 40 #93-0004
from 181 Filo is buzzing over the Turkish country side. [TuAF photo]
Since a number of years, all F-16s squadrons within the Turkish Air Force are multi-role. This means they can handle all missions, but are specialised in one. With the CCIP program – which will start in 2009 – the aircraft will get an upgrade which will prolong their service life and introduce a completely new block 50 cockpit and advanced electronics.