Turkish Aerospace Industries (TÃ¼rk HavacÄ±lÄ±k ve Uzay Sanayi A.Åž., TAI) performs the structural upgrades for the F-16 Block 30s as part of an ongoing upgrade program. Turkey’s procurement and defense authorities designed to increase the structural life of the country’s existing fleet of F-16 Block 30 jets from 8,000 flight hours to 12,000. The comprehensive upgrade program would involve revisions, renewals, replacements and body reinforcement. The life-extension Program will cover 1,200 to 1,500 parts per aircraft.
In September 1983, the government of Turkey announced plans to buy 132 F-16C’s and 24 F-16D’s under the Peace Onyx I program, which operates under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The first eight aircraft in the order were to be built at Fort Worth, but the remaining 148 aircraft were to be assembled in Turkey atTurkish Aerospace Industries at Akinci (formerly MÃ¼rted). TheTurkish Air Force received its first two F-16s as assembly kits in March of 1987, and Turkey officially received its first F-16D in a ceremony at Fort Worth in July of 1987.
The Turkish Air Force (TÃ¼rk Hava Kuvvetleri, TuAF) has a total of 270 F-16C/D aircraft in its inventory, all of them Block 30/40/50 models. Turkey is one of five countries to locally produce F-16s. TAI is currently building 30 new F-16 Block 50+ aircraft for the Turkish Air Force and is running an upgrade program covering more than 160 F-16 Block 30/40/50 aircraft. TAI has also been awarded a contract to build wings, center fuselages, and aft fuselages for USAF F-16s. They have also been awarded a contract to build 46 Block 40 F-16C/D’s for the Egyptian Air Force.
The Turkish Air Force has provided 18 F-16s to the allied campaign against Serbia – 11 stationed at the NATO base at Aviano, Italy, and the other seven at home. All of the planes were equipped with laser-guided bombs using the LANTIRN night-vision system. Turkish F-16s are often used in the conflict against the PKK. Mostly they provide air cover for the ground forces. Over the years, Turkish F-16s have often been involved in fights with Greek aircraft over the much disputed parts of the Aegean Sea.