Here’s The F-16AM That Celebrates The 45th Anniversary Of The F-16 Multinational Fighter Program

FA116 landing at Kleine Brogel Air Base. (All images by Low Approach Aviation Photography.)

The F-16AM with a Special Tail is from the 10 Wing of Kleine Brogel Air Base in Belgium.

On Oct. 21, 2020, the Belgian Air Force unveiled an F-16AM Fighting Falcon with a special colored tail at Kleine Brogel Air Base, in northeastern Belgium, not far from the border with the Netherlands. The special aircraft, serial FA-116, from the 10 Wing, celebrates the 45 years of the Multi National Fighter Programme (MNFP).

As the photos in this post, taken by our friends at Low Approach Aviation Photography show, its tail sport the flags of the countries being part of the cooperative program: the U.S., Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Portugal.

FA-116 is the same aircraft that sported the special Tiger livery for NATO Tiger Meet 2019 at BA 118 Mont-de-Marsan, France.

The MNFP dates back to 1975, when the U.S. Air Force and the European Participating Governments (EPG) of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, entered into an FMS (Foreign Military Sales) arrangement for the production and procurement of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Governed by the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed on Jun. 10, 1975, the F-16 MNFP involves a cost-sharing, pricing, and coproducing arrangement between the U.S. Air Force and the EPG. As part of the program, a total of 998 F-16s were produced: the U.S. Air Force procured 650 F-16s and the EPG procured 348 F-16s. The final airframe assembly lines were located in Belgium and the Netherlands, even though components were sourced from all five countries. Portugal joined the MNFP later, in 2000.

Another shot of the F-16AM with special tail unveiled at Kleine Brogel AB by the Belgian Air Force.

Just like the Danish, Dutch and Norwegian F-16s, the Belgian Vipers (as the F-16s are dubbed in the fighter pilots community) will be replaced by the F-35. Belgium has indeed become the 13th nation to join the F-35 program with an MoU signed in October 2018. The Belgians are slated to receive 34 Lockheed F-35s and 38 new Pratt & Whitney advanced F-135 jet engines, as part of a procurement worth up to “$6.53 billion USD”.

The current fleet of little more than 50 F-16s will be phased-out between 2023 and 2028. The first Belgian F-35 will be delivered in 2023, but will remain at Luke Air Force Base; the first BAF Lightning will be eventually delivered to Florennes Air Base, home of the 2 Wing, currently flying the F-16, in late 2024.

About David Cenciotti 4198 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.