Military Aviation

USAF TO EXTEND F-16 OPERATIONAL LIFE TO 2048 AND BEYOND

USAF has authorized the extend of the designed service life of the F-16 Block 42-52 aircraft to 12,000 Equivalent Flight Hours

On Apr. 12, 2017 Lockheed Martin announced that the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has authorized the extend of the designed service life of the F-16 Block 42-52 aircraft to 12,000 Equivalent Flight Hours.

This is 4,000 more hours added to the aircraft’s original design service life of 8,000 hours.

According to the company press release, after undergoing the F-16 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) structural modifications, each aircraft can operate to 2048 and beyond.

The Air Force and Lockheed Martin also reduced projected service life costs for the Block 40-52 fleet, paving the way for safe, cost-effective F-16 flight operations decades into the future.

“This accomplishment is the result of more than seven years of test, development, design, analysis and partnership between the U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin,” explained Susan Ouzts, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 program. “Combined with F-16 avionics modernization programs like the F-16V, SLEP modifications demonstrate that the Fighting Falcon remains a highly capable and affordable 4th Generation option for the U.S. Air Force and international F-16 customers.”

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-16C Fighting Falcon 57th Wing, 64th Aggressor Squadron, WA/83-159 – Nellis AFB, NV – 2016

Validation of the extended flight hour limit directly supports the SLEP goal of extending the service life of up to 300 F-16C/D Block 40-52 aircraft. In fact USAF F-16C/D fleet can safely and effectively augment the current fighter force structure as U.S. and allied combat air fleets recapitalize with F-35 Lightning IIs by means of SLEP and related avionics upgrades.

Military Type Certificate (MTC) will be submitted to the Air Force’s Technical Airworthiness Authority in the coming months and will be requested in the second phase, or Part II, of the F-16 SLEP airworthiness process. This additional step is aimed to validate further extending the F-16’s operational life based on final service life analysis from extended durability testing.

According to Lockheed Martin, the F-16 continues to prove itself as the world’s most successful, combat-proven multi-role fighter aircraft, having served with 28 customers around the world. Actually the F-16V, the latest F-16 avionics upgrade configuration, includes numerous enhancements designed to keep the F-16 at the forefront of international security, while the F-16 Block 70/72, the newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration, combines capability and structural upgrades into the most advanced F-16 production aircraft ever offered.

Photo credit: Senior Master Sgt. John P. Rohrer / U.S. Air National Guard and Senior Airman Chris Drzazgowski / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Recent Posts

That time Thunderbirds delayed their display because they were scared by an SR-71 doing a low-level fly by in afterburner above their F-16s

The Blackbird The SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft was the world’s fastest jet-propelled aircraft and the most… Read More

13 hours ago

C-130 crew members explain why they didn’t carry parachutes to abandon the Hercules in flight

The ejection seat In aircraft, an ejection seat is a system designed to rescue the… Read More

3 days ago

Iconic USMC AV-8B Harrier jump jet flies final public performance at Cherry Point Air Show

AV-8B Harrier jump jet flies final public performance On May 11 and 12, 2024, Marine… Read More

3 days ago