Air force F-16 fleet status
This graph gives an overview of the current F-16 fleet status for every air force. It not only includes active and inactive aircraft, but also aircraft that were sold or leased to other operators. Note: aircraft that were sold or leased to other operators are shown as sold / leased for the first owner and are shown in their current state (e.g. active or written off) for the second operator.
Disclaimer: This report is generated in real-time from our F-16 Aircraft Database. We strive to keep our database up-to-date and complete, nevertheless for some countries data is hard to verify (e.g. accuracy for the Middle East is only 90%). Please contact us if you have any questions or feedback.
- Horizontal Axis: Air forces operating the F-16
- Vertical Axis: Number of F-16 aircraft
- Series: The different colors represent different operational states of F-16 aircraft: active or inactive, including stored / scrapped / preserved / instructional airframes, written off, or sold / leased
The US Air Force currently retains close to 1,200 F-16s in active service - slightly more than half of their total inventory. Most of the inactive aircraft were either lost due to attrition (more than 400 airframes), or where placed in storage in the Boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB (more than 300 airframes). The US Air Force has also managed to sell or lease a significant amount of its retired aircraft to other operators (174 F-16s). This includes a number of aircraft that were transfered to the US Navy (after being embargoed for Pakistan), and 34 F-16 ADF aircraft for Italy. Quite unique for the USAF is the heavy use of retired F-16s as ground instruction aircraft (77 aircraft). Also quite exceptional: a large number of retired F-16s end up being preserved in museums or as gateguards.
Although the USAF has a large proportion of retired F-16s, it is by no means the air force with the largest active force reduction. That honour falls to Belgium, with only 60 F-16s active out of 160 originally delivered - or just 37.5%. The Netherlands are at exactly 50% active inventory today. In the case of Belgium, the active force was reduced significantly at the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the end of the Cold War. Thirty-one aircraft were put in storage at Weelde AB in 1994. All of these aircraft were scrapped in 2005 in the dismantling center at Rocourt. In 2008, a further 16 active F-16 MLU aircraft were sold to Jordan with another 9 to follow in 2010.
Besides the US and Belgium, other two other air forces sold off part of their inventory: the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and the Republic of Singapore Air Force. The RNlAF sold 18 F-16s to Chile in 2007, 6 F-16s to Jordan in 2008 and another 18 F-16s to Chile in 2010, while the RSAF sold 7 F-16s to Thailand in 2007.
Two other air forces show a special status for (part of) their F-16 fleet. First, Pakistan still shows a number of embargoed F-16 aircraft, although the embargo has been lifted - 71 F-16 block 15OCU aircraft were embargoed by the US due to Pakistan's nuclear weapons program - twenty-eight of these aircraft were actually built, and flown straight to AMARC for storage. After several attempts to sell the aircraft to other air forces failed, the F-16s were re-assigned to the USAF and US Navy as aggressor aircraft. In the mean time, the embargo has been lifted and Pakistan has been allowed to place new orders for F-16 aircraft.
Two more air forces (besides USAF and BAF) stand out due to a relatively high number of stored aircraft: the Portuguese Air Force (PoAF) and the US Navy. The US Navy uses the F-16 exclusively as aggressors, a role which is extremely demanding on airframes since they spent most of their airborne time in high-G manouevres. As a result, US Navy F-16s are effectively spent after their design service live and are retired. The Portuguese Air Force has some airframes stored in anticipation of them being upgraded to MLU standards in the coming years.