The US Air Force is entrusting Sabca MRO with the maintenance of its 80 F-16s on European soil once again. This contract confirms Belgian company Sabca MRO at Charleroi as a centre of expertise for F-16s in Europe and will provide jobs for the next 10 years. Sabca MRO has been entrusted with the maintenance of the European F-16 fleet of the US Air Force (USAF) since 2001. Thanks to the expertise it has acquired in the maintenance of the Belgian Air Force’s F-16s since the 1970s and the performance on the US fleet, it succeeded in winning this contract. The Charleroi MRO site stands as a centre of excellence and a reference on the market.
“This new contract confirms our expertise in heavy maintenance and aircraft modernisation. It is also a vote of confidence and an important token of appreciation for our technicians, mechanics and engineers. Thanks to our joint effort, we remain one of the three independent USAF F-16 maintenance centres in the world. Sabca MRO activities in Charleroi fit perfectly with the Sabena Aerospace’s MRO offering for military and civil aircraft, anchoring our Belgian group as a strong and reliable MRO partner for governments, air forces, airlines and aircraft manufacturers worldwide,”says Stéphane Burton, CEO of the Blueberry Group and of the Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) division, which includes Sabca MRO in Charleroi.
The contract includes scheduled and unscheduled maintenance of the F-16s, a programme to extend the aircraft’s life from 8,000 to 12,000 flight hours and technical support for the F-16s “on base” throughout Europe. The duration of the contract is five years and is renewable for another five years. The contract represents an estimated turnover of approximately $250 million and more than 100 direct jobs in Charleroi and on bases throughout Europe for 10 years. For some time now, the Florennes air base has been receiving direct support from Sabca, one of Belgium’s leading aeronautical companies and from Patria Belgium Engine Center (PBEC) for the maintenance of Belgian Air Component F-16 jet fighters.
SABCA Group is one of the main aerospace and defence actors in Belgium, belonging to a unique industrial ecosystem, Blueberry. The group is made up of SABCA (Société Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques) and its subsidiaries SABCA Limburg and SABCA Maroc. It conducts its activities from the three Belgian regions (Brussels-Capital, Charleroi in Wallonia, and Lummen in Flanders) as well as from Casablanca in Morocco. MRO and Upgrades of platforms and equipment are an important industrial activity which places the SABCA group as a strong partner to promote a quality services in the drone industry. The three core businesses : metallic & composite structures, advanced thrust vectoring systems and major maintenance & upgrades.