Wednesday, Feb 08, 2023

American military magazine: US fighter jets sold to various countries are "junk"

An American military magazine claimed that the American fighter jets sold to countries like Iraq and Turkey are just "junk". The magazine wondered why Washington sold F-16s to Iraq for billions of dollars even though they were stripped of their most sophisticated missiles and electronic equipment?

"Military Watch" magazine reported that Arab governments are trying to buy American F-16 or F-15 fighter jets as the newest and most powerful in the world, but these planes are often of poor quality.

The magazine confirmed in a study it published a few days ago, in which it said that the US made changes to this fighter jet in order to make it less capable and less sophisticated in order to sell it to third world countries, especially Arab countries.

In its research, the magazine acknowledged the existence of significant differences between those of the American military or its counterparts in the West, and those produced for sale to third world countries, in terms of removing all the most advanced electronic technologies, and the missiles are equipped with them, and impose strict conditions on the places of their operation and use.

According to the magazine, the United States has neutralized from planes it sold to its Arab allies, the possibility of attacking or neutralizing attacks by Israeli planes.

We mention the article here so as not to hide it. But we publish this together with a recommendation to treat publications of this type with appropriate suspicion. Because it is not clear to us what the commercial and political motives are behind articles of this type.

The article:

The World’s Worst F-16s Downgraded in America For Sale to the Third World

The F-16 Fighting Falcon first entered service in the United States Air Force in 1978, and remains both the world’s second oldest fighter in production and the most widely fielded fourth generation fighter in the world. Developed as a lighter and cheaper counterpart to the heavyweight F-15 Eagle which formed the Air Force's elite, the Falcon has for decades represented the cheapest Western fighter on global arms markets.

The fighter has been produced in a wide range of variants, from the F-16E/F Desert Falcon tailor made for the United Arab Emirates Air Force, the less advanced but less costly F-16I tailored for Israeli needs, and a number of poorer and heavily downgraded variants developed for third world air forces.

A key factor in the discrepancy between the more and less capable F-16s is that the U.S. has sought to limit the capabilities of a number of third world air forces by heavily downgrading their hardware, as well as by regulating how these aircraft can be used and where they can be operated.

A further factor is the length of time the F-16 has been in production, which means the discrepancy between the early F-16 variants and the latest F-16 Block 70/72 remains very significant particularly in terms of avionics. A look at the five countries which operate the five least capable F-16s, and the reasons for their fleets' very limited capabilities, is given below.

Iraqi Air Force

A fleet of 34 F-16IQ Fighting Falcons currently forms the backbone of the Iraqi Air Force, with the fighters having been delivered between 2014 and 2017.

The aircraft left much to be desired in terms of performance, and like the F-16s in Egypt they were denied access to the AIM-120 missile and handicapped by heavily downgraded avionics.

The decision to handicap the fighters is thought to have been influenced by Israeli concerns regarding a viable Iraqi aerial warfare capability, with the Israeli Air Force having violated Iraqi airspace frequently. Iraq was thus only provided with the minimum capability to ensure Lockheed Martin gained the contracts for new fighters.

Although Iraqi F-16s have supported counterinsurgency efforts, they have proven less favourable than the South Korean supplied T-50 jets in such roles and have suffered from very low availability rates.

Turkish Air Force

Following the Israeli Air Force’s retirement of a portion of its F-16 fleet in the late 2010s the Turkish Air Force emerged as the largest foreign operator of the Fighting Falcon with an estimated 250 in service.

Unlike most operators, however, the aircraft have not been widely equipped with modern AIM-120C air to air missiles, let alone the more modern AIM-120D, which leaves their capabilities extremely limited with electronic warfare countermeasures dating back to the 1990s and a very limited range of around 70km.

Even those Turkish F-16s which have been armed with a very small number of AIM-120C missiles were seen carrying them alongside older AIM-120Bs signifying the shortage in numbers available.

Turkey has notably been denied access to more advanced F-16 variants compatible with more modern missile classes, and after its eviction from the F-35 fighter program sales of upgrade packages for its fleet have seen considerable opposition in Washington.

Venezuelan Air Force

The Venezuelan Air Force is one of the last remaining operators of the F-16A/B Fighting Falcon, having been one of the very first clients for the jets in the early 1980s, and fields 18 of the aircraft which have seen relatively few upgrades since they first joined the fleet.

The aircraft are not relied on heavily, with the country’s more recent acquisitions most notably of Su-30MK2 heavyweight fighters providing it with the most capable combat fleet in Latin America.

Venezuela’s F-16s use obsoleted AIM-9L/P and Python 4 visual range air to air missiles, and have no beyond visual range capabilities whatsoever for either air to air or strike missions.

This combined with their ageing avionics and sensors leaves them with a negligible capability to counter modern fighter units, although for regional standards they remain above average with neighbouring Argentina and Brazil not only fielding on even older and poorer A-4 and F-5 jets, but relying on them as their most capable combat jets.

Indonesian Air Force

The Indonesian Air Force's F-16s, like those in Venezuelan service, have no beyond visual range capabilities and rely entirely on older variants of the short ranged AIM-9 Sidewinder for air to air engagements. The aircraft are newer than those in Venezuelan service and deploy AGM-65G missiles for air to ground roles, with their avionics being much better suited to precision strikes.

Like Venezuela, Indonesia relies very heavily on Russian sourced fighters with a range of modern missiles to compensate for the shortcomings of its F-16s, deploying Su-27s and Su-30s armed with modern active radar guided air to air missiles and various cruise missiles.

Indonesia fields 9 F-16A/B fighters supplemented by 24 F-16C/D jets acquired second hand from the United States, with only these newer models capable of meaningful air to ground operations.

Egyptian Air Force

The Egyptian Air Force remains one of the largest foreign operators of the F-16, with its Falcons frequently referred to as the worst in the world which remains true among major users.

Egyptian Falcons rely on very heavily downgraded avionics, are strictly controlled by the United States in how they can be used, and lack any viable beyond visual range missiles for air to air combat with none at all suitable for air to ground or anti shipping missions.

The effectively obsolete AIM-7P Sparrow was eclipsed by the more modern AIM-120 AMRAAM in U.S. Air Force before the Soviet Union collapsed over three decades ago, but with Egypt denied access to the AMRAAM the older AIM-7 remains its Falcons’ best anti aircraft armament.

The missile is deficient in a wide range of areas from a lack of fire and forget capabilities to its poor electronic warfare countermeasures and very short range, meaning Egyptian F-16 units can provide a negligible air defence capability.

The fleet’ position is only worsened by the fact that even AIM-7 missiles are few and far between in service, with Egyptian F-16s very rarely seen with anything longer ranged than a defensive AIM-9. The fighters’ avionics and electronic warfare countermeasures are themselves also heavily downgraded.


Related Articles

2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
U.S. added 517,000 jobs in January, snapping five-month string of slowing employment growth
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he will block Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges