LOCKHEED MARTIN flew the first F-16 for Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO), the first two-seat F-16D Block 50, 801 (c/n TQ-1, USAF/02-2123), from Fort Worth, Texas, on July 8. Under the Peace A’sama A’safiya (Clear Skies) Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, the RAFO is acquiring a total of 12 F-16C/D Block 50+ aircraft, comprising eight F-16Cs with c/ns TP-1 to TP-8 (USAF serials 02-2115 to 02-2122) and four F-16Ds, TQ-1 to TQ-4 (USAF/02-2123 to 02-2126). Apart from the first aircraft seen at Fort Worth, 801 (which takes up a serial previously used on a Hunter 1.66), RAFO serials for the remaining aircraft are unconfirmed, but logically would seem likely to be 801 to 804 for the two-seaters, followed by 805 to 812 for the F-16Cs. A new unit, 18 Squadron, will be formed at Ihumrait Air Base to operate the aircraft. A $32.8 million contract for the RAFO aircraft was awarded to Lockheed Martin on July 31, 2002, plus an additional one on August 9, 2002, for provision and installation of an Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare system. Oman has selected the GE F110-GE-129 engine to power its F-16s (rather than the alternative option, the Pratt & Whitney FTOO-PW-229), two spare engines being included in the contract. The RAFO aircraft will be equipped with Northrop Grumman’s upgraded AN/APG-68(V)XM fire control radar, whilst 14 LANTIRN Targeting Pods (FMS variant) and 14 LANTIRN Navigation Pods with Terrain Following Radar also form part of the deal. Oman will also take delivery of two BAE Systems F-9120 Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance Systems for its F-16s, plus their supporting ground stations.
A comprehensive weapons package includes 50 AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) together with ten AMRAAM training rounds; 100 AIM-9M-8/9 Sidewinder missiles and ten Sidewinder training rounds; 80 AGM-65D/G Maverick missiles and ten Maverick training rounds; 20 AGM-84D Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 100 Enhanced GBU-10 and 100 Enhanced GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb kits; 80 GBU-31/32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) and LANTIRN NVG-compatible cockpits, to a total value of some $1,120 million. An additional $42 million weapons package includes 50,000 20mm high explosive projectiles and 50,000 20mm training projectiles; 300 Mk.82 5001b (227kg) general purpose bombs; 200 Mk.83 1,0001b (454kg) general purpose bombs; 100 enhanced GBU-12 Paveway II 5001b laser-guided bomb kits; 50 GBU-3l(v)3/B JDAMs, 50 CBU-97/105 sensor fuzed weapons; 20,000 RR-170 self-protection chaff and 20,000 MJU-7B self-protection flares.