Israel is retiring its F-16 A/B ‘Netz’ fighter jets fleet and putting up 40 of them for sale.
“Israel's Defense Ministry has announced that it will try to sell the aircraft to foreign forces. Specifically, the ministry’s Defense Aid Branch has advertised that 40 such planes are up for sale, noting that in the IAF they served in a variety of missions and are “especially recommended for attack forces. Israel is also selling another seven Hercules C-130 planes, seven Hawk fighter-interceptor systems, 40 Skyhawk Eagles and eight Cobra helicopters,” Haaretz reported Tuesday.
With the first F-35As arriving and Alenia Aremacchi’s advanced jet trainer, M346, the F-16A/B fleet has been pulled from service.
With a massive aid package from the US going into effect, F-35’s beginning to arrive, upgrades on newer fighters underway, and with the F-15 fleet of all generations still going strong, Haaretz reports that Israel is putting some of its flyable F-16A/Bs up for sale, along with other surplus hardware.
It remains unclear exactly who may be a customer for these older F-16s, but Jordan, an ever-closer military ally of Israel, is one possibility. They have bought second-hand European F-16s for years, and Israel would likely cut them a very good deal, even providing upgrades to the jets to make them more relevant to today’s battlefield. In the past Israel has gifted Jordan surplus AH-1 attack helicopters, so there is a chance the jets could be given to Jordan for the price of upgrades alone. It is also possible that a private adversary support contractor could make a play at these surplus F-16s, as the market is set to explode in size in the coming years.
In the past Isarel has sold some of its surplus A-4 Skyhawks to adversrary and testing support contractors.
During the jet’s retirement ceremony on December 26th, Colonel Itamar, the commander of Ouvda AFB said, "Today, we say goodbye to an incredible aircraft that seems to have been created by an artist, an aircraft that fits its missions like a glove”