Last of the F-16 fighter jets delivered to Turkish Air Forces / Air Forces News
Last F-16 fighter jet produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Lockheed Martin as part of the Peace Onyx IV Joint Program was delivered to the Turkish Air Force with an emotional ceremony / Turkish Air Forces News
Ankara / NationalTurk – Speaking at the F-16 delivery ceremony, Özcan Ertem, TAI’s Aircraft Group head, stressed the F-16’s importance and speciality, and that the program was successfully completed ahead of the deadline with the delivery of the 308th F-16 jet, known also as the Fighting Falcon.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) was established in 1984 and Turkey initiated to produce fighter aircraft locally under license, including a total of 232 F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft for the Turkish air forces. The air force had previously received 8 F-16s that were purchased directly from the United States, bringing the total number of F-16s received by the air force to 240. TAI is currently building 30 new F-16 Block 50+ aircraft for the TuAF and is applying a CCIP upgrade on the existing fleet of F-16s, which will bring all of them to the Block 50+ standard. Dozens of TAI-built F-16s were also exported to other countries, particularly in the Middle East. A total of 46 TAI-built F-16s have been exported to the Egyptian Air Force under the Peace Vector IV Program (1993–1995), making it TAI’s second-largest F-16 customer after the Turkish Air Force. Turkey is one of only five countries in the world which locally produce the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Jeff Babione, vice president of the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group, told the audience at the same ceremony that the program was a result of the devotion, dedication and hard work of TAI employees.
“I thank everyone who worked on this magnificent project, in the hope that our strong cooperation with TAI that started in 1984 will continue,” he said. Serdar Demirel, deputy undersecretary at Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), thanked U.S. and Turkish officials, as well as Lockheed Martin and TAI employees, who contributed to the F-16 project. TAI and Lockheed Martin launched the F-16 program in 1984 and TAI produced 308 fighter jets in the program as of 2012.
Turkish Air Forces : Ranks 3rd in NATO in fleet size , yet there are flying coffins in the arsenal !
As of 2012 the Turkish Air Force ranks third in NATO in terms of fleet size behind the United States Air Force and the Royal Air Force. According to the Flight International (Flightglobal.com) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Turkish Air Force has an active strength of 60,000 military personnel and operates around 700 manned aircraft, incl. outdated F4 jets, which are sadly called ‘ Flying coffins ‘ !
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