Belgium's ministry of Defence has held talks with the Polish Government on the possible sale or lease of 18 surplus Belgian air force Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter-bombers.

Poland has a longstanding requirement for 60 Western-built fighters and is on the verge of a issuing a formal tender to Lockheed Martin, as well as to Boeing for the F/A-18 Hornet, Dassault, for its Mirage 2000, Eurofighter, for the Typhoon and Saab/BAE Systems, for the Gripen. There are strong indications that Poland favours used F-16s (Flight International, 8-14 February).

Belgium has a strategic reserve of stored F-16s, which, although nominally for sale, were considered a source of cheap spares. The election of a new government in last June has re-opened the possibility of selling or leasing stored aircraft. The air force operates 90 F-16s, with another 54 in storage.

Belgian maintenance and aerostructures company SABCA has been asked to calculate the cost of returning 18 mothballed aircraft to airworthiness and putting the F-16s through the European Mid-Life Upgrade programme.

Source: Flight International