The Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) is currently preparing 15 KoninLijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force or RNLAF) F-16s for delivery to the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF). A total of 13 F-16AMs and two F-16BMs – that were among 19 RNLAF F-16s declared surplus in April 2011 – were sold to Jordan in 2013. In recent years, the jets were stored at Volkel Air Base pending delivery to the RJAF, making functional check flights every now and then to keep them airworthy. The aircraft are now being modified to the configuration agreed in the deal and have their RJAF markings applied. Work on the F-16s is mainly carried out at Volkel, although Leeuwarden Air Base and the RNLAF’s Logistic Centre at Woensdrecht Air Base are also involved. In May two of the future RJAF aircraft, F-16AM J-199 and F-16BM J-208, flew a number of test sorties from Leeuwarden related to the specific Jordan Mid-Life Update (MLU) M5 configuration.
These are not the first Dutch F-16s to be transferred to Jordan – the RJAF took delivery of six former RNLAF F-16BMs in July 2009.
Delivery of the latest batch of 15 F-16s to is expected in late 2017 and early 2018. The RNLAF currently has 68 F-16s remaining in its inventory, of which 61 (52 F-16AMs and nine F-16BMs) are assigned to three operational squadrons, a flight test unit in the Netherlands and a training unit assigned to Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Fighter Wing based at Tucson International Airport. The other aircraft are operational reserves. The RNLAF will replace the F-16s with at least 37 F-35As from 2019. The F-16 is expected to continue in RNLAF service until 2024, possibly longer. Kees van der Mark