Jordanian F-16 air combat training centre gains US approval

The US State Department has approved Jordan’s request to establish an in-country F-16 Air Combat Training Center (ACTC), along with the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of related equipment for an estimated cost of US$60m.

Approval of this deal was announced in a media release issued by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on February 11, after it had notified the US Congress. The sale must now gain congressional approval before it can be completed.

The DSCA states that the Jordanian government has “requested to buy an F-16 [ACTC] and devices including full mission trainers, combat tactics trainers [and] instructor/operator stations” as part of the proposed sale. The deal also includes tactical environment simulators, brief/debrief stations, scenario generation stations, database generation stations, mission observation centres, and other training centre equipment and support services.

Jordanian F-16BM (MLU) Fighting Falcon [USAF/Staff Sgt Tyler McLain]
A Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF)-operated Lockheed Martin F-16BM (MLU) Fighting Falcon takes off from an air base in northern Jordan during Exercise Eager Tiger in May 2014. The creation of an ACTC will allow the RJAF to provide enhanced training for its F-16 pilots. USAF/Staff Sgt Tyler McLain 

In the media release, the DSCA said: “The proposed sale will improve Jordan’s capability to meet current and future threats by ensuring Jordan’s pilots are effectively trained, which will contribute to the US-Jordan lasting partnership and ensure the country’s stability, a critical element to broader US regional policy goals. Jordan will use this asset to enhance [the] training of pilots. Jordan will have no difficulty absorbing these training centre assets and simulators into its armed forces.”

Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, operating from Orlando, Florida, will be the principal contractor of this potential deal. No offset agreements have been proposed in connection with this possible sale. The DSCA added that the implementation of this deal would require the assignment of two Lockheed Martin contractor representatives in Jordan for two years to support training.

AirForces Intelligence data states that, as of February 15, the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) fields a total fleet of 49 Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons. This comprises nine F-16A (Block 15 ADFs), 26 F-16AMs and 14 F-16BMs. The RJAF’s entire Fighting Falcon fleet is based at Shaheed Muwaffaq Air Base, located in the town of Azraq in Jordan’s Zarqa Governorate. The multi-role fighters are operated by 1 Squadron, 2 Squadron (which serves as the operational conversion unit) and 6 Squadron.