Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - A squadron of F-16 A/B Fighting Falcon Block 15 OCU fighter aircraft from Squadron No 16 which home based in Roesmin Nurjadin Air Force Base, Pekanbaru, Riau, will undergo an upgrade at the Iswahjudi Air Force Base, East Java.

"The aircraft's avionic systems will be improved or upgraded at Iswahjudi," Information Dept Head of Air Force, Rear Air Marshall Jemy Trisonjaya, informed ANTARA in Pekanbaru, Friday.

The Indonesian Air Force has planned to replace F-16 A/B Block 15 OCU fighter aircraft, which are on duty at the Roesmin Nurjadi AFB, with F-16 C/D Block 52ID that are available at the Iswahjudi Base since last year.

Trisonjaya stated that the replacement process had already begun since mid-2017. The replacement process for US-made aircraft will take place in several stages until April 2018.

He explained that two F-16s from Iswahjudi AFB will be moved to Roesmin Nurjadin and vice versa.

"It will be conducted in several stages. Two aircraft from the Iswahjudi base will be flown here, and two from the Roesmin Nurjadin Base will be delivered to Iswahjudi," he remarked.

Trisonjaya noted that the plan aims to replace 16 Fighting Falcon aircraft to strengthen the Roesmin Nurjadin Base's capabilities, while the existing A/B-type aircraft will be upgraded at the Iswahjudi Base.

Furthermore, he said Air Force Chief of Staff, Air Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto, had already coordinated with the Ministry of Transportation to extend the runway of the Roesmin Nurjadin AFB.

Tjahjanto revealed that the runway will be extended to three thousand meters, from the earlier 2.6 thousand meters. The upgraded runway will support flight operations of the new F-16s.

The Roesmin Nurjadin Air Force Base is the only Type-A military base in Sumatra Island. Currently, two squadrons of aircraft strengthen the base. Apart from the Squadron No 16, with its US-made F-16 Fighting Falcons, there is also a Squadron No 12 having British-made BAE Hawk 100/200.

Indonesian Air Force operated two variants of F-16. They are General Dynamics F-16 A/B Block 15 OCU that procured under Project Peace Bima Sena I and F-16 C/D Block 52ID which were an upgraded version from F-16 Block 32 specially for Indonesia.

Editor: Ade P Marboen
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