February 5, 2004: Foreign Military Sales Testing Risks

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  • Air Force Flight Test Center

In the February 5, 2004 Global Power – Fighters Combined Test Force (GPF CTF) Portfolio Review, it was noted that the “risk level [was] increasing on testing.”  Specifically addressed in the review were two Foreign Military Sales (FMS) test workloads:  PEACE XENIA (Greece) and PEACE MARBLE (Israel). Both programs were to perform high gross weight (GW) testing, with risk levels rated as “medium” and “high,” respectively. In fact, the PEACE MARBLE test aircraft was to perform flight testing with a gross weight up to 52,000 pounds with no drag chute.

On November 11, 1984, the Government of Greece (GOG) announced its decision to purchase forty F-l6 fighter aircraft to replace the country's F-5A Freedom Fighter. Including spares and support services, the cost wss $940 million. Accompanying the purchase would be a 100 percent offsets package, to be fulfilled by GD and its engine and avionics partners, General Electric (GE) and Westinghouse Electric corporations. The package would consist of a combination of direct and indirect offsets, including opportunities for coproduction and countertrade.  In the two years between the decision to buy F-16s and the January 1987 finalization of the purchase agreement between the GOG and the F-16 partners, the nature of this offset arrangement changed considerably. The final sales contract still included anominal 100 percent offset agreement, with some co-production opportunities. But in place of the traditional indirect provisions, and in place of many direct offset demands GD felt it would not beable to fulfill, the GOG and the F-16 partners established a venture capital company that was unique in the world of offsets.  In the case of the GOG's purchase of F-16s, the offset requirements alone comprised 37 pages of the RFP, were extensive and detailed. Furthermore, they were even less favorable from the aircraft seller's perspective in that credits for the different types of implementations were considerably less than those described in policy. An example of the F-16 RFP's detail is the section addressing the distribution. Although the RFP only required that a minimum of 30 percent of the offsets be in groups one and two (F-16 or other aircraft items), it specified that this effort would focus on establishment of a Greek infrastructure to cost effectively support the Hellenic Air Force's weapon systems. This would be achieved through coproduction and subcontracting programs focusing on the final assembly and testing of the F-16 and on depot level maintenance.

In August of 1978, when the Carter Administration's arms sales restrictions policy had reached its zenith, the government of Israel announced plans to acquire 75 F-16A/B's. The fact that Israel had just signed the Camp David agreements with Egypt, however, had established an Israel-friendly climate in Washington, and the acquisition plans were approved.  The first F-16 deliveries to Israel (all 75 block 10 aircraft, except for 18 F-16A's and 8 B's that were originally built as block 5 but had already been converted to Block 10) took place under the Peace Marble I Foreign Military Sales program. These planes were originally intended for the Imperial Iranian Air Force, but the demise of the Shah in 1979 and the consequent rise of the Islamic fundamentalist regime caused these planes to be diverted to Israel. They had a number of internal changes that were unique to Israeli requirements, including the fitting of chaff/flare dispensers. The first IDFAF F-16, together with some other Vipers, was flown to Hill AFB, where initial pilot and ground crew conversion took place.  The first four F-16s, known as Netz (Hawk) in IDFAF service and wearing standard sand/brown/green camouflage colors, arrived in Israel in July of 1980 after an 11 hour delivery flight. IOC was achieved a few weeks later. Although the last 22 of these aircraft were put on hold by the Reagan Administration following the Raid on the Osirak reactor, final deliveries took place in 1981.


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