Warplanes: On A New Wing And An Old Prayer


December 30, 2011: Norway is replacing the wings on all of its 57 F-16C fighters to keep them in service until 2023, at which time they will all have been replaced by F-35s, which will begin arriving in 2018. At least that's the plan. The F-35 has been plagued by a seemingly endless number of unexpected delays.

Norway received 72 F-16AMs in the early 1980s and upgraded them in the late 1990s to the Block 50 standard. The Norwegian F-16AMs were built in the Netherlands under license. About half the remaining 57 F-16s have already had their wings replaced.

The F-16 is the most numerous post-Cold War jet fighter, with over 4,200 built and more in production. There are 24 nations using the F-16, and 14 have ordered more, in addition to their initial order. During The Cold War, Russia built over 10,000 MiG-21s and the U.S over 5,000 F-4s, but since then warplane production has plummeted about 90 percent. Since the end of the Cold War, the F-16 has been popular enough to keep the production lines going, despite the fact that the F-35 is supposed to replace the F-16. But the F-35 price keeps going up (it is headed north of $100 million per aircraft) and the F-16 continues to get the job done at half that price.





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