March 28, 2012:
The Persian Gulf state of Oman is negotiating to buy 18 American F-16Cs to replace their 18 Jaguar ground attack aircraft (and 11 Hawk 203 armed trainers). The 16 ton Jaguar is a single seat jet that carries two 30mm cannon and up to 4.5 tons of bombs and missiles. While capable of supersonic speed (1,500 kilometers an hour), most of the time it moves at a little over half that speed. Sorties average about 90 minutes each. Introduced several years before the F-16, Jaguar did not receive as many upgrades and most were retired from service in the last decade. Nevertheless, Jaguar compiled an admirable combat record. One shortcoming was that Jaguar could not, as the F-16 can, serve as an air-to-air fighter.
The 19 ton F-16C can carry 7.7 tons of bombs and the Omani ones will be equipped with a radar that can detect targets on the ground, as well as in the air.