338th skvadron (RNoAF)

"Tiger" 

338 skv "Tiger" (RNoAF)
Status:
Active
Version: F-16A/B block 20 MLU
Role:Multirole
Tailband: N/A
Motto: N/A
Badge: A tigers head on a black background.

Sideways profile for 338 skv in 2005.

F-16 History

338 skv. was the last of four Norwegian squadrons to be converted to the F-16. This finally happened in 1986. The squadron was based at Ørland AB close to a large training ground. From the start onwards this squadron was equipped to be used as an attack squadron. As one of the youngest squadrons in the Royal Norwegian Air Force, it has the Tiger as its mascot. This adding another F-16 squadron to the famous NATO Tiger Association.

Although the last Norwegian squadron to be converted to the F-16, it was the first to be introduced on the MLU platform. In late 1998, early 1999 the squadron started to convert on the type which came off the conversion line at the Kjeller depot. With the early software updates of the MLU package the Norwegian Air Force opted to convert their pilots in flying the aircraft and teaching them basic skills instead of demanding their pilots to directly take advantage of the new capabilities.

It was only with the introduction of the M2 software tape in the course of 2002 that Norway decided to integrate the PANTERA targeting pod onto their F-16s and thus integrating a modern pin-point accurate bombing system on their F-16s. The Norwegians were the first to introduce this pod onto the MLU F-16 and showed the advantages from this pod compared to the older LANTIRN system. More recently, also Belgium decided to acquire 8 examples of them.


RNoAF F-16AM #289 from 331 skv (with 338 skv markings) is taxiing by the camera at Bodø AB on July 7th, 2004 on its way to the runway. [Photo by Thomas Andre Hjelmen]

With the introduction of the M3/M4 software update, the Norwegians decided to integrate a more modern air-to-air missile in its inventory. After a competition in which a couple of missiles were compared, including the AIM-9X and IRIS-T missiles, the Norwegians decided to go for the German designed IRIS-T missile. This missile takes advantage of the use of a Helmet Mounted Cueing System. The Norwegians also became the first country worldwide to introduce this missile on the F-16 fighter. More F-16 operating air forces will be forced to take the same decision in the coming years.

In 2006 the Norwegian military decided that it would be easier to pool all F-16s into one unit, being the Forsvarets Logistikk Organisasjon or Air Force Logistic Organisation. This unit controls all F-16 assets and disperses them amongst all F-16 squadrons to have them work more efficiently. F-16s are assigned to squadrons according to their actual needs. Therefore the 338 skv markings will not be present any longer on the aircraft.


RNoAF F-16AM #292 from 338 skv spotted at the Tiger Meet Air Show at Cambrai AB in 2003. [Photo by Ed Groenendijk]

Aircraft Markings History

1986 - 2006

The tail marking consisted from the typical Norwegian forward facing triangle with two colors, being back with a yellow lightning. An arch is displayed on top ot it.

2006 - present

The triangle remained, but now features the colors of the FLO, being red and blue.


Unit History

  • 1954: Activation of the squadron in Sola
  • 1954: F-84E 'Thunderjet' (Ørland)
  • 1955: F-84G 'Thunderjet'
  • 1960: F-86F 'Sabre'
  • 1967: F-5A 'Freedom Fighter'
  • 1986: F-16A 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 1999: F-16AM 'Fighting Falcon'

Deployments

'Allied Force'
Grazzanise AB, Italy (March 23rd, 1999 to June 10th, 1999)
Operation 'Allied Force' was the codename for the almost three month long air strikes against Serbia. It was the first time after WWII that Norway deployed fighters into operation. The aircraft were tasked with CAP mission since they didn’t send their new MLU aircraft.
'Enduring Freedom'
Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan (October 1st, 2002 to March 31st, 2003)
Operation 'Enduring Freedom' was initiated after the 9/11 attacks on the US. In Afghanistan this operation is aimed at fighting the remains of the Taliban which are still present in-country.
'Air Policing Baltic States'
Siauliai AB, Lithuania (January 1st, 2005 to March 29th, 2005)
This operation started when Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia joined NATO. These countries don't have fighters themselves and rely upon NATO for there air coverage. In a three-month rotation, Belgian, Danish, Norwegian and Dutch F-16s will patrol the skies over the Baltic States.
'International Security and Assistance Force'
Kabul AB, Afghanistan (February 1st, 2006 to May 12th, 2006)
The ISAF force is a NATO led operation to bring stability in Afghanistan and support of the local authorities. Also to protect ISAF ground forces.
'Air Policing Baltic States'
Siauliai AB, Lithuania (December 16th, 2007 to March 14th, 2008)
This is the second deployment of the Norwegian Air Force to the three Baltic states (Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia). This time a four-month rotation will see the Norwegian F-16s patrol the skies over the Baltic States.
'Iceland Air Policing and Surveillance'
Keflavik AB, Iceland (2009)
This marked the first deployment of Norwegian F-16s to Iceland for the patrolling mission.
'Odyssey Dawn / Unified Protector'
Souda AB, Greece (March 23rd, 2011 to July of 2011)
Norway sent 6 F-16s into theatre to help NATO with their mission over Libya. The Norwegians didn't stay untill the end of the campaign, but retracted their aircraft early during the summer months when less capacity was needed to end the conflict.
'Iceland Air Policing and Surveillance'
Keflavik AB, Iceland (2011)
Right after the Libyan campaign the squadron was tasked with another trip to the chilly island of Iceland.
'Iceland Air Policing and Surveillance'
Keflavik AB, Iceland (January 27th, 2014 to February 21st, 2014)
With the third deployment the Norwegians are the main contributor to this NATO mission. Although the squadrons participating remain on alert for 4 months, the actual deployment only lasts between 3 and 4 weeks.

F-16 Airframe Inventory

Photos

Special thanks

Niels C. Boman

Errors and Omissions



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