Operations on the F-16 started with the squadron in 1989 after the delivery of all 12 aircraft were completed. The primary role of the squadron is air defence, while ground attack is the secondary task. All aircraft were delivered in the Operational Capability Upgrade (OCU) standard giving them some capacities of the later C/D models, including the upgraded F100-PW-220 engine with digital controls, provisions for the AIM-120 and AGM-65 missiles. The latter have been carried over the years, while the AMRAAM missile was never adopted.
In 1999 the TNI-AU began upgrading its F-16s with the ‘Falcon-Up’ program to have an 8000 hour lifespan available to them. Since the late nineties however, serviceability of the aircraft has been low since the delivery of spare parts from the US was halted on several occasions, with only a small number of aircraft being available at any time.
Indonesian viper with typical camouflage scheme [TNIAU photo]
Indonesian F-16s have had their share of different camouflage schemes over the years. The original colour scheme was a three-tone blue-grey camouflage. This was changed in 2000 to a grey-green camouflage being called the ‘Millennium scheme’.
Within the squadron a aerobatic tradition existed which was continued with the delivery of the F-16. The first team to erect was called ‘Elang Biru’ (Blue Falcon). They started flying demonstrations in 1995. The colour scheme of the participating aircraft was changed to bright blue and yellow in 1996. The team was disbanded in 1998, but in 2001 a new team was formed under the name ‘Jupiter Blue’. Instead of a solitary F-16 unit, this time the team consisted from the F-16, Hawk MK-53 and Hawk Mk.109.
In 2014 the first of 24 second-hand aircraft purchased from the USAF started arrivinf in Indonesia. Before their dedicated squadron - the 16th - was established, these aircraft were first inducted into the squadron. In the end only 18 of these airframes are meant to go to the new squadron with the remaining 6 staying with the 3rd squadron to augment the 10 remaining A/B models. TO bring all these airframes to the same standard, plans are in place to give these older airframes the MLU update, but a final timing nor budget hasn't been decided yet.
TNI-AU F-16A block 15 #TS-1611
is returning from a mission. [Photo by Alex Sidharta]