Tuesday, May 31

Preview: An F-16 MLU Redux from Kinetic Model...

Kinetic Model is going back to where it all began with a brand new tooled F-16A in 48th scale. The president of Kinetic has given us a lot of information about this new kit that we can share in our preview...

Preview: F-16 MLU Redux from Kinetic Model...
F-16A MLU NATO Viper
Kinetic Model
Kit No #48100
1/48th scale
Newly-tooled kit
Decals from four NATO nations included
Kinetic Model has taken it's time to go back to where it all started for them, in creating a whole new;y tooled kit of the F-16 MLU in 1/48th scale. We will hear from the president of Kinetic, but first, what is the MLU Viper?

The Subject: The F-16 MLU Viper
In 1989 a two-year study began regarding possible mid-life upgrades for the USAF's and European Partner Air Forces' (EPAF's) F-16A/Bs. The resulting F-16 Mid-Life Update (MLU) package was designed to upgrade the cockpit and avionics to the equivalent of that on the F-16C/D Block 50/52; add the ability to employ radar-guided air-to-air missiles; and to generally enhance the operational performance and improve the reliability, supportability and maintainability of the aircraft. Aircraft receiving this set of updates are designated F-16AM or F-16BM.

A Norwegian F-16 MLU Block 20
Development began in May 1991 and continued until 1997; however, the USAF withdrew from the MLU program in 1992, although it did procure the modular mission computer for its Block 50/52 aircraft.

A Royal Netherlands Air Force (J-062) F-16A Block 20 MLU at Frisian Flag 2015
The first of five prototype conversions flew on 28 April 1995, and the installation of production kits began in January 1997. The original plans called for the production of 553 kits (110 for Belgium, 63 for Denmark, 172 for the Netherlands, 57 for Norway, and 130 for the USAF), however, final orders amounted to only 325 kits (72 for Belgium, 61 for Denmark, 136 for the Netherlands, and 56 for Norway). The EPAFs redesignated the F-16A/B aircraft receiving the MLU as F-16AM/BM, respectively. Portugal later joined the program and the first of 20 aircraft was redelivered on 26 June 2003, with another 20 going through the update in the country at this time. In recent years, Chile, Jordan, and Pakistan have purchased surplus Dutch and Belgian F-16AM/BM for their air forces.

An MLU from the Danish Air Force on take off from RIAT in 2018
The development of new software and hardware modifications continues under the MLU program. The M3 software tape was installed in parallel with the Falcon STAR structural upgrade to bring the F-16AM/BM up to the standards of the USAF's Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP). A total of 296 M3 kits (72 for Belgium, 59 for Denmark, 57 for Norway, and 108 for the Netherlands) were ordered for delivery from 2002 to 2007; installation is anticipated to be completed in 2010. An M4 tape has also been developed that adds the ability to use additional weapons and the Pantera targeting pod; Norway began conducting flying combat operations in Afghanistan with these upgraded aircraft in 2008. An M5 tape is in development that will enable employment of a wider array of the latest smart weapons, and the first aircraft upgraded with it are due to be delivered in 2009. In 2015 tape M7 was implemented. Pakistan upgraded its F-16 Block 15s to Block 20 MLU status with help of TAI.

BAF F-16A block 15 #FA-58 from 31 sqn is parked on the tarmac with a light step attached to the cockpit. This aircraft was later upgraded to MLU standards and is currently stored as part of the latest defence cuts in Belgium. 

The Kit: Kinetic's new F-16A MLU NATO Viper & a message from Kinetic Models CEO – Raymond Chung
We started the modelling adventure back in 2008 – the first kit 1/48 F-84F, but most people know us when we launched the 48002 – 1/48 F-16A in 2009. It has been 13 years since we started this journey.

The original, 2009 kit no #48002 some of you may remember
Unlike most modelling makers whose founder is a professional modeller, I didn’t have a clue how to make a model kit at that time. Not to mention all the unknowns ahead of me, I took over the Kinetic from the original founder when the company was proceeding with the F-16 project.

We faced a lot of technical, financial and sales challenges, just like many modelling startups experienced. When we released the first F-16 (K48002) out of the assembly floor, we finally could take a break from those “difficulties”.

Of course, for those of you have our F-16 kit, you might be surprised with the content. A very detailed kit with tons of options, a lot of missiles and bombs - one of the iconic features of Kinetic. However, the F-16 nose became a real disappointment to many of our first time customers. I could not understand how the customers see the differences of F-16 kit. For me, the customer critics are like a crime scene investigation (CSI). We listened, we learnt from our customers – we retooled and corrected the nose mistake. We failed and we got it right. So, that is where Kinetic started from.

Our scale model market have many new startups in the last decade. Some still here, some gone. As such, it is not an easy job to maintain the company afloat as well as to gather more resources to improve. We invested to make better models, refining designs, using new knowledge and technologies to present the best solutions and quality in products.

For years, I have a wish to revisit our first iconic subject – F-16 series. We need to explore until we gain sufficient experiences and technical resources to achieve the standard of what customers really expected.

Now, after 6 years of hard working, with the help of our global team of contributors and supporters. We are proud to present our new generation tooling of 1/48 F-16 kit (Gold Series).

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all customers who support us throughout the years, bear our imperfect products, and yet expect us to do better for each new release. We will continue to offer more exciting products, just as this time, the Kinetic Gold F-16 series to the market in return for your kind support for Kinetic.

May 2022
Raymond Chung
Kinetic Model

F-16A MLU NATO Viper
Kinetic Model
Kit No# 48100
1/48th scale
The kit's features:
- This is a completely newly-tooled kit
- Kinetic Gold Series engineering
- Snap-fit modelling experience – (no more sanding to fit)*
- Accurate shape with material from General Dynamics
- MagFire technology – the new standard in magnet interchangeable payloads - small magnets in the pylons enable you to swap out weapons after the model is completed.
- The kit's decals are designed by FCM Decals and printed by Cartograf 
- Markings from the MLU nations in NATO: 
    Belgische Luchtmacht-Force Aérienne Belge (Belgian Air Force )
    DK Kongelige Danske Flyvevåben (Royal Danish Air Force)
    NL Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force)
    NO Luftforsvaret (Royal Norwegian Air Force)
- BoxArt by Antonis Karydis

*Finger's crossed hey?

We will have more information on this kit as it surfaces. Until then keep an eye on Kinetic Model's website for more info...