The US Air Force’s (USAF) Ogden Air Logistics Complex has successfully extended the life of the F-16 Fighting Falcon multi-role fighter jet.
The aircraft is the first of nearly 300 F-16 C and D models that will roll off the shop floor of the 573rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS) after receiving a series of structure-strengthening upgrades and modifications.
It is also the first of four F-16 fighter jets that will be used as ‘validation and verification’ aircraft.
Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander brigadier general Stacey Hawkins said: “As a former maintenance officer for the Thunderbirds, I can fully grasp the significance of this achievement by the 573rd AMXS.
“Not only did the team increase aircraft availability for the airforce’s most visible fighter squadron, but it paved the way for increasing combat lethality for our warfighters across the globe.”
The F-16 Service Life Extension Programme (SLEP), which is being jointly carried out by the Ogden Air Logistics Complex and the Air Force Lifecycle Management Center’s F-16 Systems Program Office, will help extend the life of the aircraft until nearly 2050.
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The entire range of the stateside SLEP modifications will be completed at the Hill Air Force Base, the headquarters for the Ogden Air Logistics Complex in Utah.
573rd AMXS civilian leader Joe Gardenhour said: “The Thunderbird jet presented some challenges. This is the largest structural upgrade we’ve ever done.
“This programme moves beyond the usual modifications into a standard package of repairs, and it is going to bring stable workload into the depot for years to come.”
The USAF’s Ogden Air Logistics Complex intends to complete each SLEP jet in nine months and at a cost of $2.4m.