War Drums: US F-16s Still in Jordan

A Jordanian F-16 Fighting Falcon leads another Jordanian F-16, as well as an American F-16 from the 120th Fighter Squadron, Colorado Air National Guard, and two Marine F-18s from VMFA-115 over a training base in Northern Jordan during the Eager Lion exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. John P. Rohrer)

Earlier this summer, US military forces arrived at Jordan for the annual joint-training exercise known as Eager Lion. Military forces from 19 countries took part in the two-week-long exercise.

Although impressive in its scope, Eager Lion was not particularly eyebrow raising. Joint-training exercises are frequent affairs with international partners. What is interesting is what happened when the exercise ended.

The government of Jordan asked the US military to leave behind some equipment, including a handful of F-16s. That’s notable given that Jordan’s northernmost neighbor is Syria, embroiled in a long civil war that has the region on edge.

With the US apparently heading down the path towards some form of military conflict, its worth noting that those fighters are still there. 

“We do have F-16s in Jordan flying as part of continued training with the Jordanian Armed Forces,” Capt. Natassia Cherne, Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs, confirmed Aug. 28. “These aircraft are there at the request of the Kingdom of Jordan, reassuring our allies and partners of our commitment to regional stability.”

Cherne declined to say which unit the F-16s are tied to, nor how many are currently stationed in Jordan, due to “operational security.”

Aaron Mehta

Aaron Mehta

Air Warfare Correspondent at Defense News
Aaron covers the Air Force for Defense News. In his spare time, he tweets about the Air Force for Defense News. Follow him @AaronMehta
Aaron Mehta