May 5, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) celebrated the arrival of its first F-16E/F aircraft on May 3rd. The first "Desert Falcon" F-16s to be based in the UAE were received by the crown prince, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
UAEAF F-16F block 60 #3001 is landing at NAS Fort Worth with a full fuel load-out on March 22nd, 2005. [Photo by Keith Robinson
The first 10 aircraft were flown by UAE
Air Force pilots who recently completed F-16 training
in the United States.
"This is a proud and significant day for the United Arab Emirates
Air Force and Air Defense Force and our nation," said Major General Khalid bin Abdullah Al Buainain, Commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defence. "These aircraft have the latest capabilities and will help ensure the security of our nation for many years to come. Arrival of the F-16E/Fs is a giant step in the Air Force modernization process that our country's leaders began planning more than a decade ago."
The ceremony was attended by Gen. Michael Moseley, vice chief of staff of the US Air Force
aircraft version, also known as block 60
, is the latest and most advanced of the long lineage of F-16s produced by Lockheed Martin. The new F-16's major difference is the Northrop Grumman APG-80 multimode radar, for improved tracking of multiple targets.
The Block 60 configuration is the most extensive change in the history of the F-16 program. Its unique features include new cockpit displays and a new mission computer.
The UAE has ordered a total of 80 aircraft.
The first flight of the F-16E/F
was made in December 2003
. Flight testing by Lockheed Martin began in early 2004 and is continuing with three F-16F models. UAE pilot training on the F-16E/F began at Tucson Air National Guard Base, Ariz., in September 2004, and the first group of pilots completed their training in April 2005. Popular Science named the F-16E/F Block 60 one of the top 100 technical innovations in 2004.
The F-16s will be based at the Al Dhafra and at the Al-Minhad air base.
Delivery of the aircraft should be completed in 2008 and US pilots and air force experts are present in the UAE to handle training and logistics.
- First F-16 block 60s to UAE in May - Thursday, February 10, 2005
- UAE prepare for new F-16 bases - Tuesday, September 07, 2004
- First operational F-16 Block 60s arrived in Tucson today - Friday, September 03, 2004
- UAE to take delivery of first of 80 F-16s during 2004 - Tuesday, February 17, 2004
- NATO allies establish military flight center in UAE - Sunday, February 15, 2004
- First flight of the F-16 Block 60 - Monday, December 08, 2003
- UAE accelerates construction of F-16 airbase - Monday, June 09, 2003
- Chief of UAE army views final assembly of first Block 60s - Monday, May 26, 2003
- UAE pilots undergo F-16 training - Wednesday, August 21, 2002