F-16's over Bosnia

F-16 self protection

During a mission in the airspace of the countries of the former Yugoslavia, RNLAF F-16s carry a variety of equipment in order to protect the aircraft against a variety of threats. The Northrop-Grumman ALQ-131 pod is carried as an advanced Electronic Counter Measure to protect the aircraft against radar threats. The 600 lbs pod accomplishes this with a combination of noise, repeater or transponder electronic jamming techniques. The pod is capable of jamming enemy radar systems and is programmed in advance, depending on the threats to be expected, and can quickly be re-programmed against changing threats. For missions in Bosnian airspace, these threats will mainly consist of missiles of Russian manufacturers.

ALQ-131 pod
Photo: USAF
ALQ-131 pod

Since April 1983 the RNLAF uses the ALQ-131 Electronic Counter Measures pod, of which 103 were ordered in three batches (25 Block-1 and 78 Block-2 systems).

The ALQ-131 pods of the RNLAF have been upgraded from Block-1 to Block-2 standard. The Block-2 pods have a wider frequency range.

The aircraft also carry chaff dispensers, in order to blind enemy radar systems. The flare dispensers protect the aircraft against heat seeking missiles — either air launched or surface launched.

The standard missiles carried by the RNLAF F- 16s are the AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 Sidewinder. In a typical air-to-air configuration, four of these missiles may be carried; two on wing tip mounted launchers (stations 1 and 9) and two on underwing mounted launchers.