August 21, 2002 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The United States has launched a program to train pilots from the United Arab Emirates on flying 80 advanced F-16 fighter-jets.
Lockheed Martin, producer of the F-16, began a two-state program to ensure that the UAE
air force is prepared to absorb the block 60
aircraft. The first F-16s, purchased for $6.4 billion, are scheduled to arrive in the UAE in 2003.
The first phase began earlier this year and included the training of 12 UAE pilots. In the second stage, expected to begin at the end of the year, another 12 pilots will be trained.
Industry sources said Lockheed Martin, rather than the U.S. Air Force undertook responsibility for UAE air combat training. The sources said this was part of the direct business deal for the F-16s that bypassed U.S. Defense Department management of the program.
Wednesday, August 21