The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) has finalized a contract for the purchase of 12 Block 70 F-16 fighter jets from the United States.
The agreement was signed earlier this week by Royal Air Force Commander Brigadier General Pilot Muhammad Fathi Hiasat and US Deputy Chief of Mission at the US embassy in Jordan Amman Rohit Nepal.
The Jordanian military did not reveal the financial value of the deal but a State Department approval for the sale from February 2022 said the purchase would have an estimated cost of $4.21 billion. This estimate also included active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, GPS INS and IFF systems, targeting pods, M61A1 Vulcan cannons, Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and laser JDAM tail kits for GBU-31 and GBU-54 bombs, as well as Paveway II bombs.
The new F-16s will extend Jordan’s existing fleet of F-16 aircraft that were either donated from the US in the 1990s, or acquired second-hand from Belgium and the Netherlands. Jordan currently operates 61 F-16 fighters.
Over the years, the majority of Jordan’s F-16 fighters were upgraded to the Mid-Life Update (MLU) level, similar in capability to the F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft.
Block 70 features technologies developed for the 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor fighters and will represent a considerable increase in capability for Jordan.
Approving the sale last year, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the buy would “improve Jordan’s capability to meet current and future threats by ensuring continued interoperability with US and coalition forces. These aircraft will modernize the Jordanian fighter aircraft fleet and support operational requirements associated with regional US-coalition goals, such as countering violent extremist organizations, countering malign state and non-state actors, and border defense.”