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Dutch F-16s are being Sold; Volkel, November 29, 2017

The Project Disposal F-16, part 1; Text and Photograph's by Alex van Noye

Since the Sale of the first series of F-16s in the Netherlands, the Project Disposal F-16 has been created. This project group had to prepare the F-16s that are being sold by the Royal Netherlands Air Force for delivery to the new owner. The two major customers for these second-hand fighter aircraft were Chile and Jordan.

The F-16 has been serving in the Netherlands for many years where politicians demand it. The aircraft are exactly used for which they were bought in the 70s. In the first instance the aircraft was used in the air defense role and later the offensive task was added. All of the air force's current flying equipment has been deployed in various mission areas over the years. Especially in the 1990s and later in the 2000s, the Dutch F-16s were used extensively in areas such as the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and later also in Syria. Defense personnel in the Netherlands are getting more and more recognition for the tasks in the various hostile areas during the sometimes tough and ambitious missions. This applies, unfortunately, not for the current equipment, because despite the high workload on the staff, the F-16 fleet was drastically reduced at the start of the 2000s. After the closure of Twenthe Air Base in 2004, it was decided for the first time to sell a part of the Dutch F-16 Fighting Falcon fleet. There was a batch of 18 aircraft in total for sale at Twenthe Air Base. The 18 aircraft were released after the disbandment of the no 315 Squadron at Twenthe. To guide the sale of the fighter planes with success, the Project Disposal F-16 (Project Afstoting F-16, PAF) was created. This project would organize preparations for the new owners within the Royal Netherlands Air Force. T

The Chilean government was orientating itself at the end of the 90s to replace the outdated Mirage 50/5M aircraft. After a long search and the necessary political talks, the government of Chile could buy 10 new F-16C/Ds from the American aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The Chilean Air Force received in 2004 and 2005 a total of six F-16Cs and four F-16Ds which would then fly at the Grupo 3 at the Chilean airbase Los Condores. More aircraft could not be bought by the government of the country due to a disappointing economy. Chile was therefore unable to purchase new aircraft and had to look further at other means. After a search they came to the

conclusion that a batch of used F-16s was also a serious option. In their search the Chileans came across the Dutch F-16s that had been for sale for 1.5 years. At first they wanted to buy 20 second hand aircraft, but this number was adjusted, because the Netherlands only had 18 planes for sale. This batch became the first Dutch fighter aircraft that was purchased by the Chilean government. The Dutch government signed the agreement with the Chileans to deliver 18 aircraft on December 16, 2005. The F-16s which were sold to Chile, would fly at Grupo 7 and Grupo 8 at the Chilean airbase Cerro Moreno. The choice for the Dutch MLU F-16s was a very good choice, because the Dutch Air Force had maintained the aircraft perfectly over the years.

The sold F-16s would leave in three batches of six aircraft under the name Operation Amstel Peace I. The delivery of these aircraft took place in 2006 and 2007. All F-16s departed from Twenthe Air Base. The aircraft were all painted in the Chilean colors and they were all equipped with new serials according to the Chilean system. All the aircraft still had the Dutch serials during their departure, because the aircraft were flown by Dutch pilots. These numbers were pasted with stickers over the original Chilean serials. Also, the Chilean star on the tail of the F-16s was masked and replaced by a Dutch Air Force emblem on the back of the fuselage. The first batch of F-16s departed from Twenthe Air Base on September 4, 2006. The planes which had left were the; J-141 (730), J-194 (722), J-633 (721), J-656 (733), J-657 (736) and J-885 (732). The numbers in parentheses are the new Chilean registration numbers. Half a year later, on April 5, 2007, the second batch of F-16s left for Chile. The aircraft which left this time, were the; J-137 (726), J-139 (731), J-205 (729), J-649 (737), J-652 (734) and the J-878 (724). The last batch left another three months later on July 3, 2007. This batch consisted of the; J-143 (725), J-211 (738), J-360 (723), J-619 (728), J-622 (727) and J-655 (735). All F-16s flew from the Netherlands to Grand Canaria. Here they planned an intermediate refueling stop. After the fuel stop, the F-16s flew further to Brazil to make another fuel stop in Salvador-Deputado, Luis Eduardo Magellan. The last part of the flight was from the Brazilian base to Antofagasta/Cerro Moreno. This base is the new home of the former Dutch F-16s.

Another set of major cutbacks in defense was announced in 2008. Again 18 F-16s were withdrawn from use. These F-16s came also for sale. The Dutch and Chilean government made again an agreement for the delivery of 18 Dutch F-16s. Again, the F-16s were delivered in 3 batches of 6 aircraft during Operation Amstel Peace II. The first batch of 6 F-16s departed from Leeuwarden Air Base to Chile on November 4, 2010. The aircraft which left were the; J-138 (757), J-192 (752), J-198 (753), J-207 (755), J-864 (747) and J-869 (749). Besides the airworthy F-16s, also the J-255 was sold to the Chileans to serve as ground instructional aircraft. The second delivery of the program took place on April 4, 2011. A batch of 5 F-16s left from Volkel Air Base to Chile. Originally there were six F-16s in the batch, but the J-627 was forced to land due to a technical issue during the flight. The F-16 turned back to the Netherlands. The 5 other aircraft were the; J-204 (754), J-617 (741), J-636 (744), J-648 (746) and J-867 (748). A day later, the J-058 (758) was provided as compensation for the J-627. The J-627 would be delivered during the third batch. The third and final delivery to the Chileans was planned on August 29, 2011. One of the F-16s was also this time broken during start up. It was again the J-627. This aircraft would not depart this day. The other 5 F-16s left according to schedule. The last F-16s which left were the following 5 aircraft; J-203 (745), J-365 (756), J-620 (742), J-874 (750) and J-875 (751). These aircraft departed from Volkel Air Base. The intention was that the J-627 (743) would depart one day later to join the other 5 F-16s.

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