Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum,Belgian Defense, Coll SBAP - Translation: Marc Arys © sbap 2015

The F-16 Multinational Fighter Program (MNFP) saw light on June 10, 1975 when the Ministers and Secretary of Defense from the United States, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Norway signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU was the basic charter for the F-16 Multinational Fighter Program which prevailed over the preliminary contract and letters of offer and acceptance.
The five founding nations bought no less than 998 F-16 fighters. The European participating governments attached a great importance to have their new fighters interoperable and this was the starting point for collaboration into the development, production and support of the F-16 aircraft.
In 1980, the participating countries decided to acquire 169 additional aircraft, known as “follow on buy”, based on the success of the Multinational Fighter Program.
At this point, the United States, decided to start a new development program, also called 'Agile Falcon' to procure the next generation F-16, the C/D models. The purpose of this was to offer the European nations a large upgrading program for their own fleet.
The program called “Mid-Life Update” gave the opportunity to modify the basic Block 10 & 15 aircraft and bring them to a near Block 50 capability including the integration of a glass cockpit and a mission computer. The letters of offer and acceptance were signed in 1991 followed by the signature of the Mid-Life Update acceptance in 1993.

Parallel to this Mid-Life Update, another nation, Portugal, signed a contract for the acquisition of 20 F-16 A and B models, with a second batch of 25 aircraft later on. The Portuguese authorities were also interested to join the MNFP and this was concretized on June 9, 2000 at the signature of a new Memorandum of Understanding with Portugal becoming the sixth nation of the MNFP.
Following the MLU update, the main program within the MNFP is related to the Operational Flight Program Updates (OFP). Throughout these evolutions, the participating nations maintained, to the maximum extent possible, the objective of commonality and interoperability. The next planned OFP will take place in 2017 and will enable the European participating Air Force F-16 fleet to cope with the actual battlefield requirements.
2015 saw the 40 anniversary of the MNFP, proof that this concept is a real success within the F-16 partnership. Along the 40 years, the MNFP members had to challenge more and more complex situations and the positive evolutions of the F-16 platform was only possible with the core actors of the F-16 Multinational Fighter Program working for the mutual benefit of all F-16 operators.

Beauvechain Air Base 40 years later...
The ceremony with different and interesting speeches 40 years of excellence
A visit to the Fighting Falcon's
Sadly, no USAF aircraft was present on the flight line to complete the six nations

Maj. Gen. Avi. “Fred” Vansina
The six MNFP nations representative Next step...2017

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