Saturday, April 15, 2017

U.S. Air Force Extends F-16's Service Life Until 2048

F-16 Fighting Falcons from Kunsan Air Base and South Korean KF-16s taxi to the runway together during Exercise Buddy Wing 14-8 at Seosan Air Base, Republic of Korea Aug. 21, 2014.Flickr/US Air Force

CNN: Waiting on more F-35s, Air Force extends F-16's life

(CNN)The US Air Force has decided to extend the service life of its F-16 fighter jet from 8,000 to 12,000 flight hours, a move that will keep the multi-role combat aircraft in the skies beyond 2040 and help fill the service's short-term need for more aircraft.

While the Air Force is regularly upgrading its aircraft and extending flight hour limits, stretching the F-16's lifespan by more than 20 years reflects efforts by the Air Force and other US military branches to resolve readiness issues produced by a shrinking fleet -- and will help close the gap until the delayed fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is fully delivered.

The US military has found itself leaning heavily on a smaller and aging air fleet -- a trend that has leaders across all four armed service branches concerned about combat performance and pilot safety. Recent pilot shortages, budget cuts and delays to new platforms, like the F-35, have prompted Air Force brass to call the current flying force the "smallest, oldest and least ready" in history.

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More News On The U.S. Air Force Extending The F-16's Service Life Until 2048

Air Force extends F-16 fighter's service life -- Air Force Times
Air Force authorises extended life for F-16 -- Flight Global
U.S. Air Force to extend service life for F-16 fleet -- UPI
Pentagon Extends Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighter Shelf Life by 50% -- The Street
Fighting Falcon puts off retirement: F-16 to fly for USAF through 2048 -- Ars Technica
USAF To Keep Upgraded F-16s Till 2048 As Fate Of F-15C In Doubt -- The Drive
Lockheed Martin’s F-16C Fighting Falcon: Flying Until 2048 (Thanks to the F-35)? -- Dave Majumdar, National Interest


rjbrash said...

Picture does not match the caption.

Aizino Smith said...

How do you extend the service life of an air frame except by fiat?

Thy extended the service life of some cargo planes by rebuilding tje roots of the wings in Georgia.

Are they going to do the same for the F16?

fazman said...

I assumed they meant continued upgrading of weapons systems and avionics

Aizino Smith said...

I would assume they continue to do that.

But airframes wear out too. The fuselage potion probably last long than the wing roots and wings.