The Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency (FMA) has awarded Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services (KAMS) a contract extension for the overhaul and preparation of another batch of former Norwegian F-16 fighter jets for sale.
The contract also includes an overhaul of the engines and has a value of 200 Norwegian krone (approx. US$21 million) and will see the company prepare 44 retired fighters for transfer to adversary air services provider Draken International and Romania.
Norway entered into a contract with Draken International for the sale of 12 former Norwegian F-16s in December last year, while the sale of another 32 aircraft to Romania is being concluded.
Pending official approval from the Norwegian and American authorities, the first aircraft are expected to be delivered to Draken this year and Romania during 2023.
While the Norwegian jets are in their fifth decade of service, they are still more capable than the F-16 currently in service in Romania. The 17 fighters that were transferred from Portugal between 2016 and 2021 received mid-life upgrades before being transferred to Romania and now have the M.5.2R configuration, with capabilities similar to Block 50/52 aircraft. The Norwegian airframes feature the M6.5.2 configuration, with the ability to launch smarter laser JDAM bombs and AMRAAM-120D missiles.
“Our fighter jets are among the best maintained in the world, and central to this work has been the ongoing maintenance and upgrades that KAMS performs. I am therefore confident that our aircraft will serve Draken and Romania well for a number of years to come. In addition, this contract contributes to maintaining important national expertise in fighter aircraft maintenance in Norway,” says Magnus Hansvold, director of disposal at FMA.
KAMS will perform the work at its facility at Kjeller near Oslo, ensuring that F-16 competence is maintained in Norway in the years to come.
“This contract extension confirms our position as a key provider of maintenance services to the Norwegian defense sector and our allies. This ensures important aviation jobs in the years to come. It also illustrates the importance of the strategic cooperation we have established with the armed forces for maintenance of aircraft, engines and associated systems and components. This will help us continue our growth by creating even more aircraft jobs in the future,” says Atle Wøllo, president of KAMS.