Attrition: Turkey Loses Its F-16 Surge Mojo

Attrition: Turkey Loses Its F-16 Surge Mojo, by Jim Dunnigan.

he July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey had many victims and one of the lesser known ones was the effectiveness of Turkish fighter fleet. While few F-16 pilots took part in the coup, the government lost (through dismissal or resignation) 274 combat pilots. This reduced the ratio of pilots per F-16 from 1.25 to .8. Suddenly the combat capabilities of the Turkish air force were greatly reduced, especially if the F-16s were called on to engage in large scale and intensive operations.

F-16 Operated by 132 Filo, Turkish Air Force and based at Konya.

Turkey has long had one of the largest F-16 fleets in the world, with about 240 F-16s currently in service. Because they belonged to NATO the Turks had to achieve high standards of pilot training, especially the number of flight hours per pilot per year and the number of pilots per aircraft. Until 2016 Turkey maintained these standards with F-16 pilots getting over 150 flight hours a year and there were 1.25 pilots per F-16. This pilots per aircraft ratio is important because aircraft can fly more frequently per day than one pilot can handle. So it you want to get maximum use of modern combat aircraft you need a ratio of at least 1.25 and preferably 1.5. American aircraft carriers, for example, carry 1.4 pilots per combat aircraft.