The first F-16s under the Peace Delta contract were delivered in November of 1983. Although an initial batch of 6 aircraft (3 A and 3 B models) was delivered immediately, the remainder of the order was finalised in 1985. The main purpose in 1984 was training a number of pilots on the type so it could be made operational.
With the delivery of those F-16s, the type became the most modern asset in the FAV inventory. During the eighties the main task consisted in air defence and day-time attack missions. The F-16s of the FAV are of the basic block 15 version without any upgrades. Not even the simple Operational Capability Upgrade (OCU) was performed on the aircraft, which rests them with limited night-time or BVR capabilities.
FAV F-16A block 15 #1041
shortly before delivery at Fort Worth, Texas in 1983. [Photo by Gen. Div. Maglio Montiel via Iván Peña Nesbit]
In the mid nineties a number of upgrades were performed with help from Israel. The aircraft have been spotted with Raphael Litening pods under the intake adding a day and night-time precision attack capability. A number of Precision Guided Munitions is believed to be delivered by Israel as well, although specific type or numbers aren’t available. With this upgrade process the F-16s were also spotted with the Python IV missile which boosts the aircraft’s air defence capacity.
It was long believed that the aircraft would receive the MLU upgrade package. This is certainly needed since the aircraft are running out of service life in the coming years, only initiated to 4,000 hours because of their basic block 15 airframe. Since relations with the US have deteriorated considerably, this upgrade is far from certain and it will be a matter of time before the F-16s will become unserviceable due to airframe fatigue.
FAV F-16B block 15 #1715
from grupo 16 seen rolling out after landing at Anapolis AB in Brazil on August 24th, 2006 during the international exercise Cruzex. Note it is carrying the Israeli made Python 4 missile. [Photo by Rob Schleiffert]