Esk 730 was the second unit to receive the F-16 in the Danish air force. It too (as Esk 727) replaced the F-100 Super Sabre aircraft. The squadron was tasked with an air defense mission as backup to the Aalborg AB bases units.
First deliveries to the unit compromised block 10 versions of the F-16 fighter. They remained the mainstay of the fleet during the late eighties and early nineties. What makes the F-16 such a success is that the Multi Stage Improvement Program (MSIP) implements new features on existing airframes during the career of the aircraft. Denmark is the only country of the four EPAF countries that retained a number of F-16s who, despite being upgraded with later block 15 avionics, kept their small block 10 stabilizer. The other countries fazed out those older types after the Cold War, or upgraded them to full block 15 airframes with the larger stabilizer.
RDAF F-16B block 5 #ET-206
of Esk 730 at the Open House at Nancy AB in September of 1994. [Photo by Ed Groenendijk]
With the introduction of the MLU version, the possibilities of the F-16 gained dramatically. For the air defense units the addition of the AIM-120 missile was very welcome. The Danish are the only ones who updated those small stab airframes with the MLU package. Although these airframes are capable of carrying air-to-ground ordnance, they will seldom do since the center of gravity for these aircraft isn’t the same as with the larger stab installed.
After the disbandment of Esk 726 in 2005, the squadron also received that unit’s reconnaissance task. For this it uses the Terma (former Per Udsen company) Modular Reconnaissance Pod (MRP). Since that disbandment the squadron has around 25 F-16s at its disposal because the RDAF only retained two flying F-16 squadrons, both based at Skrydstrup AB, making that the sole F-16 base.
RDAF F-16AM #E-203
of Esk 730 parked at a dispersed area at Koksijde AB (West- Flanders, Bel.) during the annual air show, held at July 6th, 2002. [Photo by Paul Nann