The Turkish military has received the sixth F-16 fighter modernized by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).
“Structural improvements of the F-16 Block-30 aircraft are in progress. Within the scope of the F-16 Structural Improvement Project, we delivered the sixth F-16 Block-30 aircraft, whose structural improvement was completed, to the Air Force Command,” Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) tweeted Wednesday.
The project calls for the modernization of 35 F-16 Block 30 aircraft of which TAI will work on 25 of them. The remaining jets will be modernized by the 1st Air Supply and Maintenance Center Command.
TAI delivered the first upgraded jet to the Air Force in July 2020.
Ismail Demir, head of SSB, tweeted in February 2021, “Structural upgrades of the F-16 Block 30 aircraft continue. In the project, 1,200-1,500 pieces of structural parts per aircraft are being refurbished. Repair, replacement and body reinforcement work is being carried out where necessary.”
Demir added that with the F-16 upgrade project aims to increase the lifetime of F-16 aircraft from 8,000 hours to 12,000 hours. Since the U.S. denied selling F-35 jets to Turkey over S-400 row, F-16 modernization will buy Turkey some time while it develops its own TF-X jet under National Combat Aircraft (MMU) program. The new aircraft is expected to perform its maiden flight using a domestic engine in 2029.