USAF misplaced three F-16 ‘Viper’ fighters in 270 days within the ROK

On January 31, the U.S. Air Power launched an official assertion confirming the crash of one in all their F-16 Preventing Falcons, a fourth-generation fighter craft, close to the South Korean metropolis of Gunsan. Earlier within the day, native media studies had given a heads-up concerning the identical. The plane belonged to the eighth Fighter Wing. 

Photograph credit score: Lockheed Martin

Providing a detailed account of the incident, the web site of Kunsan Air Base, which is house to a important a part of the U.S. fighter fleet in Korea – together with two squadrons of F-16s, said, “The F-16 Preventing Falcon from the eighth Fighter Wing had an in-flight mishap… The pilot managed to eject in time… He was alert and was promptly moved to a medical facility for a check-up”. 

What’s value noting is that this isn’t an remoted occasion. It’s the newest accident in a troubling collection affecting the U.S. Air Power’s F-16s in Korea. An plane from the eighth Fighter Wing had equally crashed 51 days earlier on December 11 within the proximity of Gunsan. Moreover, on Might 6, one other F-16 suffered a crash in an agricultural space close to the Osan Air Base.

USAF new F-16 'dark grey' camouflage scheme goes mainstream
Photograph credit score: USAF

Upkeep procedures

Curiously, it’s value mentioning that the Republic of Korea Air Power, which operates a a lot bigger fleet of F-16s within the area than the U.S. Air Power, boasting a powerful 161 plane, has not had a single crash lately. However, america has skilled fairly the other. 

The U.S. navy, significantly the Air Power, has been grappling with rising issues associated to its upkeep procedures as a consequence of a worrying crash price since 2020. Curiously, the newest crash occurred simply 11 days after commemorating the F-16’s fiftieth anniversary of its inaugural flight on January 20, 1974. The celebration was overshadowed by a sense of dissatisfaction, contemplating these fighter jets had been anticipated to be largely decommissioned by the mid-2020s. 

F-16 fired a 5th-gen missile with upgraded circuit guidance cards
Photograph credit score: USAF

Regrettably, the incorporation of the F-35 fifth-generation fighter jet into the fleet has met with quite a few setbacks. These points embody delays in improvement, lowered manufacturing, and the debilitating mixture of skyrocketing operational prices and upkeep necessities. Consequently, fewer F-35s have been acquired than initially anticipated to exchange the F-16s, thus forcing the outdated fighter plane to stay in service far longer than initially deliberate.

Engine issues?

At current, the U.S. Air Power is contemplating varied methods to develop a lighter but agile fighter jet, impressed by the T-7 Coach. Regardless of being much less formidable than the F-16, this proposed addition may supply a cost-effective resolution to strengthen fight forces, while concurrently phasing out outdated Chilly Struggle-era fashions. 

US-made F-16 in the sky over the Black Sea: predator or prey?
Photograph credit score: Lockheed Martin

Regardless of putting a substantial order for 85 F-35s, South Korea plans on focusing its air power totally on home FA-50 and KF-21 fighters, to minimize the reliance on antiquated Chilly Struggle-era plane. Each the F-16 and F-35 gentle fighters, admirable representatives of their generations, had been designed with single-engine setups to scale back operational prices and reduce upkeep wants. Nevertheless, this lack of a second engine, which is frequent in most American fighters, corresponds to a comparatively larger danger of accidents in comparison with dual-engine fighter courses such because the F-15 and F-18. 

The query stays whether or not the three unlucky F-16 crashes in Korea, during the last 12 months, had been the results of engine points. Concerning the F-35, the first danger for pilots appears to emanate extra from software program glitches relatively than engine failures.

F-16 alternative

The Pentagon has been abuzz with discussions about deciding on a alternative for the F-16 fighters. This comes as a program evaluation is on the horizon. The F-35 has been ceaselessly talked about in these chats as a potential successor, not just for the F-16s but additionally for the F-15s, A-10 strike plane, and the F/A-18 fleet. 

A closing determination on the successor to the F-16— a well-regarded and economical fighter— is anticipated inside the subsequent 4-5 years. Quite a few options are being thought-about in the meanwhile, together with an up to date model of the F-16 itself and the F-7 fighter, which springs from the T-7 Purple Hawk coach, amongst others. 

Contemplating there are greater than 600 F-16 plane within the US anticipated to retire by the mid-Nineteen Forties, it’s important to plan a plan for his or her alternative. Whereas many recommend the F-35 take over a massive portion of this position, some officers emphasize the necessity for a cheap operational system, akin to the T-7 Purple Hawk. 

T-7A Red Hawk performs like a fighter and is an F-16 challenger
Photograph credit score: Boeing gives insights that recommend an plane, related in cost-efficiency and performance to the F-7 and closely influenced by the T-7 Purple Hawk, may match the Korean FA-50 Block 20. This plane, mandatory for each day peacetime duties corresponding to patrolling, ensures a ready-to-go aviation crew always. 

Within the occasion of battle, this plane would doubtless be assigned to second or third-tier duties, contemplating its functionality of dealing with a appreciable quantity of a top-tier fighter’s arsenal. Such a position exists not solely believable in Korea but additionally in Poland.


Observe us in all places and at any time. has responsive design and you’ll open the web page from any pc, cellular gadgets or internet browsers. For extra up-to-date information, observe our Google News, YouTube, Reddit, LinkedIn, Twitter and Fb pages. Our requirements: Manifesto & moral rules.