Aerial Warfare

Royal Jordanian Air Force Places New F-16 Fighting Falcon Fleet Under Contract

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Royal Jordanian Air Force Places New F-16 Fighting Falcon Fleet Under Contract

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Royal Jordanian Air Force Places New F-16 Fighting Falcon Fleet Under Contract

The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) has fortified its combat capabilities with the expansion of its F-16 Fighting Falcon fleet. Lockheed Martin has confirmed the transformation of the previously accepted letter of acceptance (LOA) into a formal contract, marking the procurement of 12 Block 70 aircraft. Janes reported that Jordan had signed the LOA for eight Block 70/72 aircraft in June 2022. However, the latest announcement on January 11 reveals an increase in the number of Block 70 aircraft to 12. The Royal Jordanian Air Force operates a total of 64 F-16A/B aircraft, 16 of which are ADFs, while the remaining 39 are MLUs or have been modified to MLU standard. Jordan has operated Fighting Falcon fighters for many years, and is now refreshing the fleet with AESA-equipped aircraft.

These aircraft are equipped with the General Electric F100-GE-129D afterburning turbofan jet engine, distinguishing them from the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW229EEP engine used in the Block 72 variant. The F100-GE-129D engine boasts an 81% parts commonality with the F110-GE-100, recognized as the safest single-engine powerplant in U.S. Air Force history in its class. This advanced engine provides significant mission advantages, including over 30% additional thrust during critical low-altitude combat operations. The F110 engine powers the majority of today’s advanced USAF F-16C/D aircraft, showcasing its reliability and deployment capability across various theaters of operation.

This contract amendment supersedes the earlier agreement for eight F-16s, emphasizing Jordan’s commitment to enhancing its defense capabilities and military deterrence. The RJAF stated that this move is within the framework of strengthening joint operations with the United States and increasing combat readiness. The initial acquisition comprises 12 aircraft to be delivered in a “first phase,” with the possibility of additional F-16 purchases in the future. Specific details regarding the distribution between F-16C single-seaters and F-16D two-seaters in the initial tranche have not been disclosed.

The Block 70/72 configuration represents a substantial upgrade in combat capability compared to the RJAF’s existing F-16 fleet. Equipped with advanced features such as an active electronically-scanned antenna radar, infrared search and track, modern avionics, and a 12,000-hour airframe, these aircraft provide a significant boost to the RJAF’s operational capabilities. The U.S. State Department’s approval, issued on February 3 of the previous year, covers the supply of 12 F-16Cs and four F-16Ds in the Block 72 configuration. This includes Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229EEP engines, Northrop Grumman APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radars, spare engines, radars, M61A1 Vulcan 20-mm rotary cannons, Lockheed Martin AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pods, and a comprehensive defensive systems suite.

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