The upgrade program of the 83 F-16 block 52+ and block 52+adv fighters from the total of five Battle Squadrons of Araxos, Souda and Larissa is “running” completely within schedule.
The beginning was made on September 12, when the first two upgraded “vipers” were delivered to our Air Force from the facilities of the AAB in Tanagra. The continuation follows in the next few days with the take-off of two more fighters from the ODA to the 343 Fighter Squadron “Asteri”, while by the end of 2022 according to the planning of the ODA and the HAF, the Greek “hawks” will have received four more upgraded “vipers”.
Thus already within four months the arsenal of the Air Force will have been strengthened with the first eight of the total of 83 fighters under upgrade. In fact, at a time when the 332nd Fighter Squadron “Hawk” will have twelve powerful Rafales in its quiver and in fact six of them will be new. Overall, the “blue” wings take the first big step and move to the 4.5 generation aircraft with what this implies in their deterrent power and in the correlation of forces with the Turkish air force which is in a clear “vertigo”.
The upgrade program of the 83 F-16 block 52+ and block 52+adv fighters from the total of five Military Squadrons of Araxos, Souda and Larissa “runs” perfectly within the schedule with the cooperation between ODA, Air Force and the manufacturer of Lockheed Martin to be excellent despite occasional problems.
But recently, one of the “thorns” that the managers of the largest upgrade program in the history of the HAF have to face is the “bleeding” of specialized personnel who are leaving the ODA and the Viper project because of the tempting financial proposals it has from the private sector. Executives with special expertise on which important parts of the program are based. Already the information states that of the approximately 140 executives working in the program, a significant number has left with the authorities making great efforts to stop the “bleeding” and replace the “losses”. The proposals they are already studying concern productivity incentives and bonuses in order to continue at the same pace within the timetable the large program of the ODA which has so far been described as a complete success. And it shows that with proper planning and organization, the ODA can in the coming years assume an important role even in the project of the 5th generation F-35 Stealth fighters in view of the entry of our Air Force into the “club” of the “invisible” fighter.
At the same time and in anticipation of the second pair of Vipers at 343 Squadron in Souda, a great race has begun for pilots and technicians to learn the secrets of the upgraded fighters. The first information speaks of a completely new aircraft in terms of its electronic systems, with the pilot having a huge amount of information far greater than that provided by the F-16 block 52+ adv. The “vipers” are now completely network-centric fighters with the possibility of cooperation at multiple levels both with the rest of the fighters of the air fleet and with the flying radars that the HAF has in its arsenal.