The Norwegian company Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services (KAMS) announced its contract with the Defense Material Agency to upgrade two retired Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s.
The F-16 modernization ought to be finished by the end of 2021. KAMS will also seek three additional Fighting Falcons to be upgraded, returned to operational condition, and maintained. For the Norwegian company, a contract with the local MoD creates new opportunities for workplaces and development. With 40 years of experience in maintaining and repairing F-16s, this makes KAMS the most reliable and trustworthy entity for the RNAF jets’ upgrade.
Nonetheless, Norway’s F-16 fleet is reaching the end of its service life. The initial plan announced back in 2017 considered retiring the F-16s within two years, with their service likely ending by 2022. In fact, the majority of the RNAF F-16s date from the mid-1980s with the last two F-16 Block 15 OCU 2 delivered in 1989. 56 of the F-16 were commissioned to participate in the Mid-Life Upgrade modernization back in 2001, some twenty years ago.
The introduction of new F-35A jets into the RNAF as the replacement for the aging F-16s forces the Norwegian Ministry of Defense to take actions in order to either prolong the life of the outdated jets or simply scrap the fleet or sell them to another country. With the new contract for KAMS, the last option seems to be the most relevant and we can expect that the Norway will be trying to push their jets somewhere else. This might be somewhat problematic, as the further resale of American aircraft is strongly regulated by and requires a green light from the US government.
If the Norwegians manage to find a potential buyer for their ageing fleet of F-16s, and the US will agree on the sale, then the KAMS workshops will have thier hands full working to upgrade the Falcons.