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Operation Peace Falcon VI; Volkel, November 29, 2017

The Project Disposal F-16, part 2; Text and Photograph's by Alex van Noye

In recent years, Jordan has been a major buyer of second-hand F-16s in the Netherlands and Belgium. This year the country will again purchase fifteen F-16s that have been on sale in the Netherlands since 2011. The F-16s left Volkel Air Base at the end of the year to Jordan under the name Operation Peace Falcon VI.

One of the largest buyers of used F-16s in the world is Jordan. In 1994 the country came into contact with the western world more and more after it had made peace with the neighboring Israel. After an evaluation, the Jordanian government decided that the country wanted to purchase F-16s to replace the outdated F-5 fleet. In 1996, the first agreement was signed with the US government for the lease of 16 F-16 Fighting Falcons. These F-16s were of the type F-16A/B ADF (Air Defense Fighter). These F-16s were only able to be deployed in the air defense role due to a modification. Delivery of the F-16s would take place under the name Peace Falcon I. The aircraft were flown to Jordan in a batch of six and two batches of five aircraft in December 1997, and January and February 1998. After the first operational years with the F-16, Jordan wanted more planes. During the Peace Falcon II program, another 17 F-16 ADFs from the United States were flown to Jordan in 2003. These aircraft were brought to the MLU (Mid Life Update) standard in Turkey in 2008 and 2009. Now that the country was accustomed to the F-16s of the MLU standard, the country decided to purchase even more second-hand MLU F-16s. This was not easy at first, because the MLU standard was still relatively new in Europe. Eventually, a deal was concluded with Belgium for the delivery of sixteen ex Belgian F-16s which the country wanted to sell. These F-16s were flown to Jordan during Operation Peace Falcon III in 2009.

The first time that Jordan would buy F-16s from the Dutch government was in 2006. The second series of F-16s (after the first batch of 18 for Chile) was prepared for sale by the PAF project which took place in 2009. In total the Jordanian government bought six F-16BMs from the Royal Netherlands Air Force. These aircraft left for Jordan on July 28, 2009, from Leeuwarden Air Base. The F-16s that then left for Jordan, were; the 130 (ex J-267), 131 (ex J-269), 132 (ex J-270), 133 (ex J-650), 134 (ex J-653) and the 135 (ex J-654). These F-16s were flown to Jordan during Operation Peace Falcon

IV. After this delivery, the Jordanians would also receive nine ex Belgian F-16s in July 2011. These aircraft were delivered from Belgium during Operation Peace Falcon V. On April 8, 2011, the Minister of Defense again announced budget cuts to the Dutch Defense. The Council of Ministers agreed with this major austerity round. The withdrawal of the F-16s was already realized on May 8, 2011. A total of 19 F-16s had to be retired on Leeuwarden and Volkel. A total of 69 F-16s would remain for the Dutch Air Force. Of the nineteen F-16 aircraft, the air force sells fifteen aircraft. The buyer who reported to the Dutch government for these aircraft was again Jordan. The contract for the sale of these fifteen F-16s was signed in the summer of 2013. The aircraft would be delivered in 2017.

After Jordan had decided to buy the fifteen F-16s from the Dutch Air Force, they would eventually leave at the end of 2017 in three different batches. The F-16s were prepared for the ferry to Jordan by the PAF project at Volkel Air Base. The F-16s were equipped with Jordanian markings such as the distinctive Jordanian flag on the tail, the roundel on the fuselage and the registration number on the tail which is shown in Arabic-Indian. The test flights of the aircraft were still flown under the Dutch flag and therefore the F-16s were temporarily provided with Dutch markings in the form of stickers which were placed over the Jordanian markings. Once the planes had been approved by the Dutch personnel, the Jordanians would make an acceptance flight from Volkel. After this flight, the acceptance was formally signed and the aircraft in question was formally handed over to the Jordanians. The aircraft would eventually be flown to their own country by the Jordanians themselves. During the ferry, the aircraft would make tank stops at Aviano in Italy and at Souda-Bay in Greece. In Jordan, the F-16s will be stationed at As Shaheed Muwaffaq Air Base where they will be assigned to the no 2 Squadron. The ferry of the fifteen former Dutch F-16s took place under the name Operation Peace Falcon VI. On October 25, 2017, the first six planes departed from Volkel at 10 o'clock am. The six F-16s which departed during this first ferry, were; the 236 (ex J-884), 240 (ex J-638), 243 (ex J-872), 244 (ex J-873), 247 (ex J-199) and the 248 (ex J-145). For this flight, the 237 (ex J-208) and the 250 (ex J-510) were the spare aircraft for this ferry.

The second flight which was scheduled to take place was scheduled for November 29, 2017. This time, also six planes would leave for Jordan. The aircraft would fly the same route as the first six which had already departed. The six F-16s would leave early in the afternoon, because around half past two the aircraft were at the head of the runway for departure. The F-16s scheduled to depart this time, were; the 237 (ex J-208), 241 (ex J-868), 242 (ex J-870), 245 (ex J-876), 246 ( ex J-193) and the 250 (ex J-510). The spare aircraft for this ferry were the 238 (ex J-623) and the 239 (ex J-637). This time it was necessary that two planes were on the spare list, as both the 242 and the 246 had a ground abort during the start-up of the F-16s. These planes would therefore remain on Volkel, leaving the 238 and the 239 in their place. The third ferry of the last three F-16s was scheduled for December 13, 2017. For this flight the rule was that the aircraft would only depart if all three F-16s were able to leave. Eventually the flight had to be postponed by 24 hours, because the J-057 received a ground abort on its acceptance flight on December 12. The aircraft had to be tested and accepted again on December 13. After this aircraft was also accepted, the F-16s would eventually leave on December 14, at half past one pm. The last three F-16s which left, were; the 242 (ex J-870), 246 (ex J-193) and the 249 (ex J-057). After Operation Peace Falcon VI, the fifteen former Dutch F-16s received a second life within the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

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