Mar 25, 2015
Portugal begins F-16s Upgrade
All three aircraft will be upgraded to the F-16AM Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) standard by 2017.
The US government gave Portugal the aircraft in August 2013 as excess defence articles. Portugal only paid for their preparation, packaging, and shipment.
The acquisition of the three F-16s is a consequence of Portugal's sale of nine F-16AM single seat and three F-16BM twin-seat aircraft to Romania.
Those aircraft were from a batch of 25 F-16A/B Block 15 Operational Capability Upgrade (OCU) aircraft given to Portugal by the United States in the late 1990s under the Peace Atlantis II programme and later modernised in Portugal for operation by the 301 Squadron (Jaguares) at Monte Real Air Base.
Earlier in the 1990s Portugal ordered 20 new-built F-16A/B Block 15 OCU aircraft for the 201 Squadron (Falcões). These aircraft were later modernised to the MLU standard.
The Falcões and Jaguares squadrons currently operate 39 F-16AM/BM MLU aircraft.