The US F-16 fighter jets after operating for 6,000 hours will be sent to the “graveyard” Davis-Monthan, if “re-enlisted” they usually serve another 2,000 hours, but soon This number will skyrocket.
Lockheed Martin Corporation said that it plans to carry out a program to upgrade the fuselage to help extend the service life of the light fighter F-16 Fighting Falcon from the current 6,000 flight hours to 12,000 hours.
It is estimated that the US Air Force can upgrade 300 F-16s of the Block 40 version to the Block 70 standard with the above-mentioned reinforcement of the fuselage, this number of F-16s will serve until 2040, or even more.
The test results of Lockheed Martin confirmed that the F-16 still works well even after flying for more than 16,000 hours. However, to achieve this result, the aircraft needs to be upgraded so deeply that it is almost new production.
After simplifying the process, a representative of Lockheed Martin said that the US Air Force’s F-16 fighter, if it undergoes major overhaul and repair, will increase its operating time to 12,000 flight hours, this is a figure that shows more reasonable.
To see how impressive this number is, compare it with some Soviet/Russian-made fighter aircraft, according to Sukhoi Corporation data, the life span of the Su-27SK/ UBK only reached 2,000 hours.
When returning to the “Zero hour” mode – that is, for the total number of flight hours to reach 4,000 hours after the overhaul, it will have to replace almost all the details of the fuselage structure, then the Su-27 still only has a about 1/4 – 1/3 of the F-16’s maximum durability.
Also placed next to the best-selling Russian fighter is the Su-30, the body frame of this Flanker has a lifespan of 3,000 flight hours, the above figure is still too far behind the F-16’s 12,000 flight hours long, even with upgraded towing shelf life.
When it comes to operating costs of F-16, because it has only one engine, an hour of flight of the F-16C/D Block 52 costs $22,514, while the Su-30MK is estimated to “burn” out $40,000-45,000 per hour.
Not only that, the process of preparing, maintaining, and maintaining the combat power of a light fighter is also much simpler when compared to that of a heavy fighter.
In addition, US military officials assessed that at the present time, the latest upgraded versions of the F-16 have features that are not inferior to professional air combat fighters such as the F-15 Eagle, which means that the F-16 has the same features. at least on par with the Su-30SM.
With the above advantages, it is not difficult to understand why many countries, even with abundant financial resources (such as Indonesia), still believe in using F-16 “in the field” being stored at Davis Air Base- Monthan, Arizona.
The number of F-16s in the state of preservation here has mostly used up 6,000 flight hours, after lightly repaired they can still fly well for another 2,000 hours, which is equivalent to the brand new latest Su-27SK.
If the host country wants to extend the service life of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, manufacturer Lockheed Martin will be delighted to perform a contract to upgrade the fuselage to give them an additional 6,000 hours of flight time again.
So in ideal conditions, the F-16 reborn from the “graveyard” will have durability twice as much as the newly produced Su-30MK, which is a big surprise for many people.
This is explained by the fact that the US has achieved outstanding achievements in material technology, making the F-16 chassis escape the “fatigue limit” that the enemy is still trying to research but has not yet obtained results.