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UAE seeks F-16 pilot training in the USA

June 27, 2007 (by Asif Shamim) - The Government of United Arab Emirates is moving a request forward to set up a F-16 pilot training program in the USA for there block 60 "Desert Falcons". The program is similar to whats in place for the Netherlands and Singapore.

US Congress has been notified by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) about this possible sale.

The DSCA announced the request on June 18th, 2007 as as United States pilot proficiency training and munitions support service package, which includes:

"105,000 20mm cartridges, aircraft modifications kits, maintenance, participation in joint training Continental United States (CONUS) pilot proficiency training program, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals training, F-5B transition and continuation training, fighter follow-on preparation training, participation in joint training exercises, fuel and fueling services, supply support, flight training, spare/repair parts, support equipment, program support, publications, documentation, personnel training, training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services and other related program requirements necessary to sustain a long-term CONUS training program."

The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $201 Million.

This course run out of Alliance International Airport, Fort Worth, Texas, will enable the UAE to gain experienced, mission ready pilots who have gone through CONUS training by providing training that takes experienced pilots and further improves their tactical proficiency. Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals is a pre-cursor to F-16 Block 60-transition training, which UAE pilots will receive in Tucson, Arizona with the 162nd Fighter Wing.

The contractors selected to support this sale will be Alliance Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Worth, Texas and Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support also based out of Fort Worth.

The United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF) ordered a total of 80 F-16E/F block 60 aircraft, becoming the first customer for this advanced version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.