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F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Portuguese MLU achievements

June 6, 2003 (by Wizard) - The Portuguese MLU program now seems to be on the right track. After some delays caused by some divergences between OGMA and the Portuguese Air Force it seems that the program is now rolling at full speed.
Some engines have already been converted from PW-F-100 200C to 220E in Monte Real AFB and the first F-16 should fly at late June. The Peace Atlantis II called for the upgrade of 20 F-16 OCU aircraft (16 A and 4 B) to MLU standard in order to activate a second squadron at Monte Real.

Of a total of 25 airframes acquired 21 will be upgraded. The additional aircraft will replace the F-16 15111 (of the 201 squadron) that crashed in 2002 killing the pilot, Capt. Jorge Moura.

After the first flight all the other aircraft should be ready every 2 months counting from 2004. After the refurbishment of these airframes, the original 20 (now 19) F-16A OCU block 15 from the Peace Atlantis I will be also upgraded. Note that Portugal is also upgrading their F-16´s with the "Falcon UP/SLIP" program, making the PoAF the only Air Force ever to update a F-16 with the this 2 programs at once.

The PoAF is now also in the verge to buy some new weapons to equip the new MLU aircrafts. PoAF has the intention to buy the AIM-120 , more Sidewinders, GBU´s, JDAM and JSOW as well as some RAFAEL Litening II pods. Quantities have not been specified.

Ricardo Nunes
Lisbon - Portugal