HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – The first three refurbished F-16s departed Hill Air Force Base this week on their way to Indonesia.
Crews combined for a total of 15,000 man hours as they worked to prepare the jets to fly again rather than be discarded.
Maj. Frank Taravella, chief, shoutheast Asia Branch U.S. Air Force International Affairs, spoke about the work.
“These aircraft were delivered in crates from the bone yard in Arizona,” he said. “They had to be torn down even further to bare metal, and each and every component removed and replaced before determined to be safe and operational to be delivered to Indonesia.”
The three jets are among a total of 24 aircraft that will be refurbished at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex and delivered to the Indonesian Air Force. The Indonesian government is paying $670 million to get the planes overhauled and ready for flight.
Col. Benny Koessetianto, Indonesian Air Force, said the jets will enable them to better secure their territory.
“With this jet, I believe it will strengthen our capability in doing, in sharing responsibility with other countries around us to make the region secure and also to protect our territory,” he said.
Taravella said the transfer of jets is a big deal.
“This program marks the largest foreign military sales program in the history between the United States Air Force and the Indonesian Air Force, and by delivering these 24 jets, we are pretty much tripling their fighter aircraft capability within a one year period,” he said.
Koessetianto said they are glad to partner with the United States.
“We share the same principles: democracy, stability, security--so this project represents the relationship between the United States and Indonesia,” he said.
The remaining jets are expected to be refurbished and delivered by 2016.