The saga of the maintenance of U.S. Air Force F-16s stationed in Europe seems to have come to a happy end: Sabca, together with the other consortium, will finally be responsible for the maintenance not only of the F-16s stationed in Europe but also of part of the U.S.-based F-16s.
The U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets stationed in Europe will continue their maintenance with Sabca at Charleroi Brussels South airport in Belgium. SABCA obtained a maintenance contract in 2001 for the USAF F-16s in Europe. A renewal of the contract was announced at the end of February 2021. However, some months later, an association between US aeronautical player AAR Government Services, a Dutch company and a Polish maintenance company, WZL 2, based in Bydgoszcz appealed and finally won the contract. In turn, Sabca also decided to appeal this decision.
According to Stéphane Burton, the CEO of the new Orizio group of which Sabca is part, an agreement has been concluded between the two competing consortia and the USAF. The maintenance of the fighter jets would ultimately be carried out by both companies. The contract would even be more advantageous than the first contract since F-16s stationed in the United States could also be overhauled on the two European sites, after a flight over the Atlantic. The contract would be worth $350 million over 10 years.
The contract includes scheduled and unscheduled maintenance of the aircraft as well as technical assistance on the European bases where the U.S. F-16 squadrons are deployed. An F-16 life extension programme from 8,000 flight hours to 12,000 flight hours must also be implemented.