Belgium has opened a $3.85 billion tender Friday for the replacement of its ageing US-built F-16 jet fighter fleet with new multi-role aircraft.
The contract potentially worth 15 billion euros (3.85 billion) over its 40-year lifespan. "The current 54 F-16 fighters will be replaced by 34 new multi-role aircraft," the ministry of defence announced today.
The defense argued that because of technical advances, fewer planes would be needed to meet the same mission. The cost of the 34 aircraft is put at 3.6 billion euros (3.85 billion), with another 1.2 billion euros to cover training and maintenance, ministry spokesman Laurence Mortier said.
Over the planes anticipated 40-year lifespan, the total cost could come to around 15 billion euros, Mortier said. The supplier would likely be named in 2018 but the government had shortlisted five manufacturers in NATO oruropean Union member states, the ministry said.