Final Six F-16 Block 25s for Indonesian Air Force Completed

USAF Lt Col Beau ‘Strap’ Wilkins from the 514th Flight Test Squadron, makes a high-speed pass in Indonesian Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon TS-1629 during a functional check flight on November 21, 2017, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The jet is the last of 24 F-16s to be delivered to the Indonesian Air Force. US Air Force/Alex R Lloyd

US AIR Force officials at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, announced on December 6 that Ogden Air Logistics Complex (ALC) at Hill has completed regeneration work on the last six F-16C Fighting Falcon Block 25 aircraft for the Government of Indonesia.  This marked the completion of nearly five years work by Ogden ALC on an acquisition and refurbishment agreement to deliver a total of 24 F-16C/D Block 25s (19 F-16Cs and five F-16Ds) to the Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Udara (TNI-AU –  Indonesian Air Force) to supplement its older F-16A/B Block 15 OCU aircraft.

The former US Air Force and Air National Guard aircraft, built between 1983 and 1985, were all taken from storage with the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.  The final aircraft will shortly depart on a five-day transoceanic flight and will require mid-air refuelling and two overnight stops before arriving in Indonesia.

Acquired through the US Excess Defense Articles programme, they have been upgraded to a standard similar to the Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP) carried out on the USAF Block 40/42 F-16C/Ds.  Work included installation of the Modular Mission Computer MMC-7000A version M-5, Improved Data Modem Link 16, Embedded GPS/INS, AN/ALQ-213 electronic warfare management system, ALR-69 Class IV radar warning receiver, ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser and ARC-164/186 radios.  More enhanced capabilities were also incorporated in to the aircraft’s AN/APG-68(V) radar.

When the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the proposed acquisition on November 16, 2011, the DSCA said the equipment fit was planned to include either the AN/AAQ-33 Sniper or AN/AAQ-38 Litening targeting system.  Eventually it was Lockheed Martin’s Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) that was selected.  Acquisition of Sniper ATPs for the TNI-AU’s new F-16C/Ds was included as part of a $10 billion trade and investment agreement signed between Indonesia and the US on April 21, 2017, during a visit to Indonesia by US Vice President Mike Pence.  Although the number involved was not specified, there were indications in 2014 that procurement plans were for the purchase of up to 16 pods.

The first aircraft deliveries to the TNI-AU took place on July 25, 2014, when one F-16C and two F-16Ds arrived at Iswahjudi on completion of their ferry flight from Hill AFB.  The final six aircraft which have now been completed, all F-16Cs, are the only examples remaining to be delivered.  One of the earlier deliveries was damaged beyond repair as a result of a fire following an undercarriage collapse on take-off from Jakarta-Halim Perdanakusuma Airport on April 16, 2015.  The pilot was unhurt.