In production and in service. As of late 2015, an estimated 2,264 F-16s were in service worldwide.
First flight of an F-16 prototype occurred on Feb. 2, 1974. Full-scale production for the F-16A started on Dec. 8, 1976. The F-16B first flew on Aug. 8, 1977. Initial operational capability (IOC) was achieved in 1979 with the 388th Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, Utah. Production of the F-16C began on June 19, 1984.
The F-16C/D Block 25/32 achieved initial operational capability in 1981;...
Israel procured a total of 102 F-16I fighters, with initial deliveries taking place in 2004. The last of the aircraft were delivered in 2009.
In early 2004, Northrop Grumman received a contract to supply AN/APG-68 (V)5 radar upgrade kits for 280 Block 40/42s, with Block 50/52s to receive the AN/APG-68 (V) as part of the M5+ software upgrade, which was scheduled to be operational from 2010. A potential M6 upgrade could include integration of the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB ) beginning in fiscal 2012.
In 2004, Pakistan and the U.S. agreed to the sale of 75 F-16 aircraft, but the earthquake in November of 2005 in Pakistan and Kashmir led President Pervaiz Musharraf to delay, though not cancel, the purchase. Of the aircraft, 50 were to be new F-16C/D Falcon variants; 25 were older, upgraded versions of the aircraft. The deal also included upgrades of Pakistan's F-16s already in service. The first two deliveries were originally supposed to take place in November. This deal ultimately never went through and was replaced with a new agreement for 24 Block 50/52 F-16C/Ds, with options for up to 55 additional aircraft. A contract was awarded in 2008 for 18 aircraft.
The Turkish and U.S. governments signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the production of 30 F-16 Block 50+ fighters for the Turkish air force in May 2007. Deliveries were scheduled for 2011 and 2012 under the US$1.8 billion deal. Final assembly will be conducted by Tusas Aerospace Industries in Ankara. The order included 14 F-16Cs and 16 F-16Ds, all to be powered by General Electric F110-129 engines, and equipped with APG-68(V)9 radars and the Aselsan SPEWS 2 electronic warfare system.
Chile took delivery of the last six of 18 used F-16 fighters purchased from the Netherlands in June 2007.
On June 15, 2007, the 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, retired the last three F-16A/B aircraft in U.S. service. The unit was the last to operate the F-16A/B. The fighters were replaced with newer Block 25 F-16C/Ds.
In July 2007, Turkey launched the Peace Onyx III program to modernize its F-16s. The first four aircraft were turned over to Turkish Aerospace Industries for upgrading. The modernization included APG-68(V)9 radars, color displays, Link 16, joint helmet-mounted cueing system and electronic warfare systems. Plans called for the upgrade of 37 Block 30, 76 Block 50 and four Block 40 F-16s. There was an option to upgrade 100 more Block 40s.
Israel announced plans to upgrade its older F-16C/Ds to the new-generation F-16I configuration in July 2007. The modernization included new avionics and the ability to carry new weapons.
In mid-2007, it was reported that heavy operational use of F-16C/D fighters in Afghanistan and Iraq had severely impacted the type's projected service life. Older Block 20, 30 and 32 aircraft were limited to 4,500 flight hours, while newer Block 40, 42, 50 and 52 aircraft were reduced to 5,000 hours. The Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP) was extended to add the Falcon STAR upgrade to keep the fleet viable until 2025.
Jordan took delivery of the first of 12 F-16As to be upgraded by Turkish Aerospace Industries on Oct. 17, 2007. The aircraft received the Falcon UP, Falcon STAR and mid-life upgrade (MLU) modifications. Another five aircraft were to be modernized in Jordan.
In February 2009, Lockheed received a US$797 million contract from Turkey for 30 F-16 Block 50+ fighters. The deal was a follow-on to a US$187 million Foreign Military Sales contract awarded in July 2007. The 14 F-16Cs and 16 F-16Ds were to be assembled by Turkish Aerospace Industries for delivery between 2011 and 2012.
Thailand completed work to implement a Falcon Up modernization package on 57 of its F-16s in February 2009. In addition, the first aircraft to complete a Falcon STAR upgrade at Thai Aviation Industries was returned to service in 2008. A planned mid-life upgrade for the fighters was not finalized due to a lack of funding.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) was in the midst of trials of its automatic collision avoidance technology (ACAT) system on an F-16 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in April 2009. The trials were intended to clear the system for integration aboard Block 50 F-16s, as well as other F-16 variants, the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II . The system senses proximity to terrain, warns pilots of impending danger and, if necessary, automatically maneuvers the aircraft to avoid a ground collision. The software should enable the system to recover the aircraft for 98 percent of F-16 accidents, officials said. ACAT builds on the automatic ground collision avoidance system (Auto-GCAS) and the automatic air collision avoidance system (Auto-ACAS) developed by Lockheed Martin and integrates them into a single system. The ACAT uses a digital terrain database and inputs from an embedded GPS -inertial navigation system to determine precise location. The ACAT algorithm combines positioning data with the fighter's current flight parameters, constantly predicting a recovery profile and associated escape maneuver through the autopilot.
In April 2009, Chile bought a second batch of 18 refurbished F-16 fighters from the Netherlands. Once delivered, the Chilean air force would have a fleet of 44 F-16s.
In May 2009, South Korean military officials said that air force KF-16 (F-16C/D) fighters would be equipped with precision-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) by the end of 2009. The upgrades would initially be applied to 20 of Seoul's newer Block 52 aircraft. Officials also said that a replacement would be sought for the KF-16's APG-68(V)5/(V)7 radar systems. The air force was considering the Elta Systems EL/M-2032 mechanically scanned array radar.
On May 22, 2009, the Greek air force took delivery of its first four F-16C Block 52+ aircraft from Lockheed Martin. The fighters were the first of 20 F-16Cs and 10 F-16Ds to be delivered under the Peace Xenia IV program. The remaining aircraft were scheduled to be delivered by March 2010.
The Dutch Defense Ministry confirmed plans to sell 18 mid-life upgrade standard F-16AMs to Chile in May 2009. Deliveries were planned for 2010.
In June 2009, Taiwan announced plans for a midlife upgrade of its 146 F-16A/B Block 20 fighters. The modernization would be limited in scope to ensure funds would be available for a hoped for purchase of 66 new F-16C/D Block 50/52s from the U.S. The upgrades under consideration included replacing the APG-66(V)3 radar with the APG-68(V)9; upgrading the modular mission computer to the MMC-7000; and adding new color multifunction displays, the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles, new internal electronic countermeasures jammer and advanced targeting pods. A new engine might also be included, either the General Electric F110-GE-129 and the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229.
On July 29, 2009, Jordan took delivery of six used F-16BMs from the Netherlands. The aircraft were acquired under a 22-fighter deal signed with Belgium and the Netherlands in 2007. Another nine ex-Belgian F-16AMs were due to be handed over to Jordan in 2011, increasing the nation's fleet to 64 Fighting Falcons.
Turkish Aerospace Industries signed a US$75 million contract with Pakistan to modernize 75 F-16A/Bs in July 2009. Work was scheduled to begin in October 2010 and be completed by August 2014. The upgrades included improved avionics, communication and targeting equipment, and new air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons to bring the fighters' capabilities close to the Block 50 standard.
In September 2009, Pentagon officials said that the U.S. planned to provide Iraq with F-16s in 2010 from those scheduled to be retired. In 2008, Iraq sought to buy 36 F-16s, but Lockheed Martin said it could not deliver the aircraft by the end of 2011, when the last U.S. troops were scheduled to withdraw. The used F-16s could accelerate the equipping of the Iraqi air force with its own air defense capability. Iraq hoped to acquire up to 96 Block 50/52 fighters by 2020.
In late December 2009, Egypt reached an agreement with Washington to purchase 20 Block 52 F-16s under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. The deal was worth about US$1.6 billion. The fighters would be powered by the General Electric F110 engine. The contract extended production of the F-16 at Lockheed's Fort Worth plant to the end of 2012.
Combat Aircraft for January 2011 reported that Raytheon and Northrop Grumman were offering new center display units for a potential upgrade of F-16s with their RACR or SABR AESA radars, respectively. The new 6 in x 8 in displays would permit pilots to better employ the new radars. The displays would include full color and the ability to interleave ground and air-to-air modes. Raytheon had already received a US$3.1 million contract to upgrade the center display units on Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard F-16s. The system would replace existing displays with a single, large liquid-crystal display.
Separately, the magazine reported that Lockheed Martin had developed the conformal aerial refueling tank system (CARTS) for the F-16. The jet is equipped with receptacle for refueling from flying booms. The CARTS enables the F-16 to be refueled with probe-and-drogue systems. The CARTS uses a straight probe that telescopically extends and retracts from the starboard-side conformal fuel tank. Incoming fuel flows directly to the F-16 refueling manifold, optimizing flow rates and pressures. During refueling, the flight-control laws automatically adjust to provide the pilot with optimum flight-control response. A production version would have electrical actuation to simplify the design and eliminate extra demand on the hydraulic system. It would also be compatible with night-vision goggles. The production design was expected to be finalized in late 2011 and fielded by 2015.
Egypt was acquiring a single DB-110 airborne reconnaissance system for its F-16C/D Block 52 jets under the Foreign Military Sales program, reported Combat Aircraft for February 2011.
Indonesia's official Antara news agency reported on Feb. 14, 2011, that the Indonesian military had accepted a U.S. offer to grant the air force two squadrons of F-16A/B fighters. At the time, Jakarta was awaiting a confirmation from Washington. The 24 F-16s could be upgraded with technology to make them equal to the latest F-16C/D Block 52 jets, said Indonesian officials.
On that same date, the Iraqi government announced that it had postponed the planned purchase of 18 F-16s from the U.S. in 2011 and diverted the funds to improving food rations for the poor. The US$900 million allocated for the fighter purchase was redirected for rations and social benefits, said a government spokesman cited by Agence France-Presse. The nation's budget deficit forced the decision, said lawmakers.
On April 18, 2011, the first F-16 to receive the MLU M6 .1 standard had the software uploaded at Florennes, Belgium. The Belgian F-16BM fighter made its first flight with the latest software that same day, reported Combat Aircraft. The software upgrade was part of the Multinational Fighter Program (MNFP) involving Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Portugal. The software corrects some minor flaws in previous versions and introduces new features. These included improvements to the IFF system; new weapons such as the AIM-120D AMRAAM , GBU-54 Laser JDAM and GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb ; improved network-centric capability for the Link 16 data link; and enhanced universal armament interface. All Belgian F-16s were slated to receive the upgrade by 2014.
Combat Aircraft for May 2011 reported that the United Arab Emirates planned to upgrade its F-16 Block 60 fighters. The modernization included the acquisition of six DB-110 reconnaissance pods and three ground stations.
Lockheed Martin and Turkish Aerospace Industries unveiled the first of 30 new Turkish-built F-16s at TAI's facility near Ankara on May 23, 2011. Turkey was scheduled to take delivery of the new Block 50 jets between May 2011 and December 2012, according to a Lockheed release.
Combat Aircraft for June 2011 reported that South Korea's F-16C/D fighters had been cleared to deploy the 2,000-lb GBU-31 JDAM via a local software upgrade. At the time, the air force had completed three JDAM drops successfully to demonstrate the new software.
Flight International for July 12, 2011, reported that the U.S. Air Force had published a request for information for options for upgrading between 300 and 600 later-model F-16s with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars starting in 2017. The service excluded foreign suppliers, likely limiting its options to the Northrop Grumman Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR ) and Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR ). The Air Force was also considering an option to buy an all new AESA radar to replace the APG-68(V)1 on Block 40/42 jets and APG-68(V)5 on Block 50/52 aircraft.
Defense News reported on July 15, 2011, that Pakistan was in the final stages of exercising an option for 18 additional F-16 Block 52+ fighters. Delivery of the initial 18 Peace Drive I jets, ordered in 2006, were completed in December 2010. A planned mid-life update for 45 F-16 Block 15 jets was also reduced to 35 fighters, said Pakistani officials. The upgraded aircraft were to be equipped with the AN/ALQ-211 (V)9 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS).
On July 30, 2011, Agence France-Presse reported that Iraq had resumed talks to buy 36 F-16s from the U.S., instead of the original 18.
On Aug. 4, 2011, Lockheed handed over the first four of 24 F-16 Block 52 fighters for the Moroccan air force at the Ben Guerrir Air Base in Morocco. The balance of the order was to be delivered by 2013.
On Aug. 29, 2011, the last batch of former Dutch F-16AM fighters left the Netherlands for Chile. One of the six aircraft suffered a last-minute problem and departed on Aug. 30. The six fighters were the last of 18 aircraft Chile ordered under the Peace Amstel II program. A formal handover ceremony occurred on Sept. 3, 2011, at the Antofagasta air base in Chile. At the time, Dutch Defense Ministry plans called for putting another 18 surplus F-16s up for sale.
On Sept. 21, 2011, the U.S. Defense Security and Cooperation Agency announced a potential sale to Taiwan for upgrades for its F-16A/B fighters. The potential US$5.3 billion deal covered 176 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars; 176 embedded Global Positioning System inertial navigation systems; 176 ALQ-213 electronic warfare management systems; upgrade of 82 ALQ-184 electronic countermeasures (ECM) pods to incorporate digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) technology or purchase new ECM pods (AN/ALQ-211 (V)9 airborne integrated defensive electronic warfare suites (AIDEWS) with DRFM, or AN/ALQ-131 pods with DRFM); 86 tactical data link terminals; upgrade 28 electro-optical infrared targeting Sharpshooter pods; 26 AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting systems or AN/AAQ-28 Litening targeting systems; 128 joint helmet-mounted cueing systems; 128 night-vision goggles; 140 AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles; 56 AIM-9X captive air training missiles; five AIM-9X telemetry kits; 16 GBU-31V1 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) kits; 80 GBU-38 JDAM kits; dual-mode/GPS laser-guided bombs (16 GBU-10 Enhanced Paveway II or GBU-56 Laser JDAM , 80 GBU-12 Enhanced Paveway II or GBU-54 Laser JDAM , 16 GBU-24 Enhanced Paveway III ); 64 CBU-105 Sensor Fused Weapons with Wind-Corrected Munition Dispensers (WDMD); 153 LAU-129 launchers with missile interface; upgrade of 158 APX-113 advanced identification-friend-or-foe combined interrogator transponders; and Have Glass II stealth applications.
Taiwan officials in September 2011 indicated that the upgrade of 145 F-16A/Bs would begin in 2013 and last through 2023 with about 24 aircraft to be modernized annually.
Iraq finalized a deal to purchase 18 F-16 Block 52 fighters from the United States in September 2011. U.S. officials on Sept. 27 confirmed that an initial payment of US$1.5 billion had been received. Baghdad hoped to ultimately purchase up to 36 of the jets. The total deal was worth about US$3 billion, reported Jane's Defence Weekly for Sept. 21, 2011. Deliveries were scheduled to begin in 2014. The deal was expected to extend F-16 production into 2015.
Combat Aircraft for October 2011 reported that Pakistan was buying 10 F-16 aircraft enhanced modernization kits from Lockheed Martin under a US$42.3 million Foreign Military Sale. The deal covered mid-life upgrades for Pakistani F-16A/B Block 15 jets.
In October 2011, it was reported that the Indonesian air force would acquire 30 mothballed former U.S. Air National Guard F-16C/D fighters. The airframes would be acquired for free, with Indonesia spending up to US$600 million for the integration of advanced avionics and weapons and the purchase of 28 Pratt and Whitney engines. The aircraft would form two squadrons, with six airframes to be cannibalized for parts. Deliveries were expected to begin in 2014 and last three years. The Indonesian Parliament approved the deal late in the month and authorized US$200 million in the 2012 budget for the upgrading. Legislators also said the Block 25 aircraft would need to be modernized to the Block 52 configuration.
Defense News reported on Nov. 18, 2011, that the U.S. government had decided to transfer more than two dozen surplus F-16 Block 25 aircraft to Indonesia. Jakarta wanted a total of 30 fighters: 24 refurbished and modernized Block 25 fighters (19 single-seat F-16Cs and five two-seat F-16Ds) and four Block 25 and two F-16A/B Block 15 aircraft for use as spare parts. The grant also included 28 Pratt & Whitney F100 afterburning turbofan engines. The refurbished aircraft would be equipped with the most advanced Raytheon modular mission computer; improved radar and avionics; and the ability to use more advanced weapons and sensors. Indonesia would pay to modernize the 24 F-16s tabbed for operational use as well as the overhaul of 28 engines. The final letter of offer and acceptance was expected to be completed in early 2012. This would permit delivery of the initial aircraft by 2014, according to a White House statement.
Aviation Week & Space Technology noted that the Block 25 fighters had about 2,000 hours of airframe life left. The Lockheed Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP) upgrade would include the Falcon STAR program, which would repair and replace some airframe components to ensure the jets reach their designed 8,000-hour service life.
Also on Nov. 18, 2011, the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) issued a request for proposals for a program to upgrade KF-16s with an AESA radar. Seoul was considering the Northrop Grumman Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR ) and Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR ), according to Flight International. The RFP called for the competitors to offer a full suite of AESA modes, including interleaving air-to-air tracking and air-to-ground mapping. More advanced capability such as electronic attack and electronic protection could also be included.
In November 2011, U.S. Air Force officials said the service planned to upgrade between 300 and 350 F-16C Block 40/50 fighters with new avionics and increased airframe life. The modernized aircraft were needed to maintain the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve fighter forces, while maintaining the Air Force's inventory ahead of the fielding of the F-35 Lightning II . Airframe life on the aircraft would increase from 8,000 to 10,000 hours. The modernization was expected to cost about $9.4 million per plane and would keep them in the air through 2030.
On Dec. 5, 2011, the Dept. of Defense awarded Lockheed an $835 million contract to supply 18 F-16C/D Block 52 fighters for Iraq under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. The deal included 12 single-seat F-16C and six two-seat F-16D aircraft. The jets are powered by Pratt & Whitney F100 PW-229 afterburning turbofans, which deliver 29,000 lb of thrust. Work under the contract was scheduled to be completed by May 30, 2018.
In December 2011, the Israeli air force decided to move forward with a modernization program for its F-16C/D Barak fighters. In 2010, the aircraft had received new avionics and a new mission-debriefing system. The next round of upgrades was to include improvements to the flight-control system and central display unit. The flight-control system would be the same as that on Israel's F-16I Sufa fighters. New high-resolution screens were to be integrated as well as an Elbit Systems display and sight helmet (DASH). Delays in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program contributed to the decision to upgrade the F-16s.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on Dec. 12, 2011, that Iraq had requested the sale of another 18 F-16IQ aircraft. The potential US$2.3 billion deal included 18 F-16IQs; 24 F100PW-229 or F110-GE-129 increased performance engines; 120 LAU-129/A common rail launchers; 24 APG-68(V)9 radar sets; 19 M61 20-mm Vulcan cannons; 100 AIM-9L /M-8/9 Sidewinder missiles; 150 AIM-7M-F1/H Sparrow missiles; 50 AGM-65D/G/H/K Maverick air-to-ground missiles; 200 GBU-12 Paveway II 500-lb laser-guided bombs; 50 GBU-10 Paveway II 2,000-lb laser-guided bombs; 50 GBU-24 Paveway III 2,000-lb laser-guided bombs; 22 ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDEWS), or Advanced Countermeasures Electronic System (ACES) (ACES includes the ALQ-187 electronic warfare system and AN/ALR-93 radar warning receiver); 20 AN/APX-113 advanced identification-friend-or-foe (AIFF) systems (without Mode IV); 20 Global Positioning Systems (GPS ) and Embedded GPS /inertial navigation systems (INS) (standard positioning service (SPS) commercial code only); 20 AN/AAQ-33 Sniper or AN/AAQ-28 Litening targeting pods; four F-9120 Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance Systems (AARS) or DB-110 reconnaissance pods; 22 AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing systems (CMDS); 20 conformal fuel tanks (pairs); 120 Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS); 20 AN/ARC-238 Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS); 230 MK-84 2,000-lb bombs; 800 MK-82 500-lb bombs; joint mission planning system; ground-based flight simulator; spare and repair parts; and associated logistics and technical support.
On Dec. 14, 2011, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a US$600 million contract for 12 F-16C/D Block 50 fighters for Oman. The deal covered 10 single-seat and two two-seat aircraft. Work under the contract was scheduled to be concluded by Nov. 30, 2016. Lockheed officials said the deal, along with an order for 18 F-16s for Iraq, should keep the company's production line open through 2015. Company officials had previously said the line could close by the end of 2013 without new orders.
In December 2011, the Norwegian air force announced plans to re-wing its F-16 fighters to keep them in service through 2023. The measure was necessary due to delays in the F-35 program, which meant the new aircraft would not be able to enter operational service until 2020. The Norwegian air force planned to retire its F-16 fleet by 2023.
Combat Aircraft for January 2013 reported that Iraq had finalized a deal with the U.S. for a second batch of 18 F-16 Block 52 fighters. The new contract was said to be worth about US$3 billion, about the same cost as the first batch. Deliveries of the last 18 jets were to be completed by 2018.
Air Force Times reported on Jan. 2, 2013, that the Air Force was set to upgrade its Block 40 and Block 50 F-16s with new flight software developed for the first time by the service instead of a civilian contractor. The flight software, which controls all avionics and weapons for the fighter, was developed by the 309th Software Maintenance Group at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The modernization was slated for all active-duty F-16s as well as many Reserve aircraft. Testing of the upgrade was scheduled to begin in 2014 at Eglin AFB, Fla.
On Jan. 29, 2013, Flight International reported that the U.S. Air Force wanted to upgrade its F-16 aggressor aircraft to better replicate enemy aircraft. The Air Combat Command planned to modernize the Block 30 and Block 32 F-16s used by the 18th and 64th Aggressor Squadrons to the System Capabilities Upgrade 8 (SCU-8) configuration. Modernized aircraft would incorporate a helmet-mounted cueing system and a new center display unit with functionality similar to an Apple iPad. This would enable better simulation of weapons employment zones and provide more accurate cueing in real-time that could assist with kill removal and airborne weapons assessment, according to Air Force officials. The service was also seeking to incorporate higher quality training pods, which would better replicate electronic attack threats.
The February 2013 issue of Combat Aircraft outlined planned upgrades for the remaining F-16s in Dutch service. These include updates to the AN/ALQ-131 electronic countermeasures system and radar warning receiver and doubling the capacity of chaff and flare dispensers. The electronic warfare management system and Litening advanced targeting pod were also to be modernized. The advanced threat display would be installed and towed decoys acquired. LANTIRN targeting pods would be retired, with additional Litening pods to be procured. AIM-9L /M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles would be replaced with the AIM-9X . Improved laser- and GPS -guided weapons would be integrated, including a standoff weapon. Other improvements included the Mode 5 IFF and M6 .5 software.
The U.S. delivered the first four of 20 new F-16s to the Egyptian air force on Feb. 3, 2013. The remaining aircraft were due to be handed over by the end of the year. At the time, the U.S. had supplied a total of 224 F-16s to Egypt.
Raytheon announced on March 14, 2013, that the U.S. Air Force had endorsed the company's center display unit as the F-16's primary flight reference. Following the endorsement in late 2012, Raytheon received a contract for full-rate production of the first 100 displays. The primary flight reference is required in all aircraft and must include airspeed, altitude and attitude information as well as flight path data. The Raytheon display also enables the pilot to control and display information from onboard and off-board sources, including data from ground forces.
On April 10, 2013, Raytheon announced that South Korea had selected the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR ) to upgrade its KF-16C/D Block 52 aircraft. The company said it would supply 134 of the radars, with deliveries to begin in late 2016. The RACR beat out Northrop Grumman's Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR ) for the program.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin an $830 million contract modification on April 30, 2013, for production of 18 F-16s for the Iraqi air force, including logistics and technical support and an electronic warfare system. The order would keep the Fort Worth, Texas, production line open through mid-2017, according to a Lockheed spokesman cited by Stars and Stripes.
The Romanian government on June 19, 2013, announced that it had approved a plan to buy second-hand F-16 fighters from Portugal to bring its air force up to NATO standards. The deal covered 12 aircraft at a cost of 600 million euros (US$941 million), including maintenance, to be paid in installments until 2017.
On July 24, 2013, the Obama administration suspended the delivery of four F-16s to Egypt. The move was described as a cautionary measure following a military coup in Egypt earlier in the month. "Given the current situation in Egypt, we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of F-16s," said a Pentagon spokesman. The fighters were part of a 2009 order for 20 jets. The first four aircraft were delivered earlier in the year.
Aviation Week & Space Technology for July 29, 2013, reported that the head of the Israeli air force had recently ordered the immediate shutdown of two F-16A/B squadrons. The move was made amid a tight budget environment as well as a re-evaluation of Israel's strategic situation. The air force had originally planned to decommission the aging F-16A/Bs once the first F-35 Joint Strike Fighters arrived in Israel, which was then expected around 2017. Another F-16A/B squadron was slated to continue serving as an advanced jet trainer unit until M-346 trainers arrived in 2014. Under a five-year plan that was presented to the Israeli Cabinet that month, the Israeli military proposed to retire all of its F-16A/B fighters, about 75 jets, reported Jane's International Defence Review for September 2013. Twenty-five of the aircraft would be used for training pending the arrival of the M-346 .
Flight International for Sept. 17, 2013, reported that Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force were implementing an automatic ground collision avoidance system (Auto GCAS) for the service's F-16s. The upgrade was slated to be fielded in early 2014. The system would be integrated as part of the M6 .2+ operational flight program. It also included a pilot-activated recovery system that would return the jet to straight and level flight at the push of a button; modification to the digital flight-control computer; and modified software for the modular mission computer. The updated digital flight-control computer had recently received its airworthiness certification. The whole system was expected to be certified by the end of 2013. The modification would be integrated as F-16s undergo depot maintenance at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The Air Force hoped to update its entire fleet by the end of 2014.
On Sept. 16, 2013, the Singapore government officially announced plans to upgrade at least some of its 62 F-16C/D fighters. The modernization would include new avionics and a service-life extension, according to Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, as cited by Flight International. Industry sources said the upgrade was likely to begin in 2015. An AESA radar was also expected to be part of any modernization. New weapons could include the AIM-9X Sidewinder , Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW ) and Laser JDAM .
The Netherlands Information Service reported on Sept. 27, 2013, that the Dutch Defense Ministry had reached an agreement with Jordan for the sale of 15 F-16 fighters and 52 AGM-65 Maverick missiles. A contract was expected to finalized in early October 2013, with delivery of the fighters to begin in late 2015.
Romanian Defense Minister Mircea Dusa announced on Oct. 10, 2013, that he had signed a contract with Portugal for used F-16AM/BM fighters. The jets were scheduled to start modernization that fall, with initial deliveries set for 2016. Initial operational capability was expected by the end of 2017, when Romania's MiG-21 fighters were slated to reach the end of their service lives. The deal covered nine single-seat aircraft from the Portuguese air force and three two-seat fighters purchased from the United States. The sale reduced Portugal's F-16 fleet to 30 aircraft, many of which were not operational, according to defense-aerospace.com. The program cost Romania 186 million euros (US$252 million), including 108 million euros (US$146 million) for the aircraft, their refurbishment and training. Portugal was set to receive 78 million euros (US$106 million) from the deal, which would be used for military modernization, according to Portuguese Defense Minister Jose Pedro Aguiar Branco. The Romanian jets would be upgraded to the M5.2 operational flight program before delivery, reported Combat Aircraft for December 2013.
Raytheon reported on Oct. 30, 2013, that Lockheed had selected the company's Advanced Countermeasure Electronic System (ACES) for the second batch of F-16IQ fighters for Iraq ordered earlier in that year. The first batch of Iraqi fighters was also equipped with the system. The system consists of a radar warning receiver, digital jammer and chaff-flare dispenser. The contract covered 18 ACES systems, plus spares, with deliveries scheduled to begin in August 2015. Deliveries of the ACES for the first batch of Iraqi F-16s were scheduled to begin later in 2013.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on Nov. 8, 2013, that Romania was seeking weapons, equipment and support for 12 F-16 MLU Block 15 aircraft that were being purchased from Portugal. The potential US$457 million deal covered 13 embedded GPS /inertial navigation systems with airborne GPS security devices; three AN/ALQ-131 electronic countermeasure pods; 30 AIM-120C AMRAAM missiles and five AIM-120C captive air-training missiles; 60 AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles and four AIM-9M captive air-training missiles; 10 GBU-12 enhanced guided bomb units; 18 AGM-65H/KB Maverick missiles and four AGM-65 captive air-training missiles; 15 multifunctional information distribution system/low volume terminals; and two multifunctional information distribution system ground support system.
Flight International for Nov. 19, 2013, reported that Bahrain planned to launch a major upgrade for its F-16s in 2014. Initial modernization plans had already been agreed with Lockheed Martin, with contract signature anticipated for the summer of 2014. Modifications would include a new AESA radar, multifunction cockpit display and a Link 16 data link. The Bahraini air force hoped to complete the modernization by 2018. The common capability integration program (CCIP) upgrade was expected to use the M6 .2 software as its baseline. Bahrain was also considering a follow-on purchase of advanced model F-16s, air force officials said.
In December 2013, Romania signed a letter of offer and acceptance with the U.S. government, which covered programmatic support to the transfer of 12 F-16 Block 15 MLU aircraft from Portugal to Romania. Lockheed Martin designed, integrated and supported the installation of updated software for the aircraft.
BAE Systems reported on Dec. 23, 2013, that South Korea had finalized an agreement with the U.S. government for the company to perform upgrades and systems integration for its fleet of more than 130 F-16 aircraft. The first phase of the program involved initial design and development of the upgrade. The second phase, to begin in 2014, would cover the production and installation of upgrade kits in the KF-16C/D Block 52 aircraft over several years.
On Dec. 30, 2013, the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) reported that new electronic and image intelligence systems developed by the domestic Agency for Defense Development were being installed on South Korea's F-16 fighters. The ELINT system can collect and analyze potential electronic threats in real time. The image intelligence system is capable of collecting and analyzing day and night target images and performing battle damage assessment.
Aviation Week & Space Technology reported on Feb. 5, 2015, that a U.S. Air Force F-16C taking part in operations over Syria had been the first to be "saved" from a certain crash by the recently fielded Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS). The incident was said to involve an F-16 operating from Jordan during a strike on Nov. 10, 2014. The Air Force provided few other details other than to say the system saved an aircraft and its pilot. At the time, more than 440 of 631 Block 40/50 F-16s had been equipped with the Auto GCAS. A system for older Block 30 aircraft with non-digital flight computers was set to begin testing in early 2015.
The March 2015 issue of Combat Aircraft reported that the U.S. Air Force had 812 F-16Cs with a mission-capable rate of 74.4 percent and 157 F-16Ds with a mission-capable rate of 71.8 percent. Cost per flying hour was reportedly US$22,514.
Flight International for March 3, 2015, reported that the Air Force had preserved funds over five years to replace mission and display computers on some of its F-16 Block 40 and Block 50 jets after eliminating funds for the CAPES upgrade in the fiscal 2015 defense budget. The mission and display computers would need to be installed to support any AESA radar upgrade in the future, said Lockheed officials.
Jane's Defence Weekly reported on March 23, 2015, that Industria Aeronautica de Portugal (OGMA) in Portugal had recently begun to upgrade three F-16A Block 15 fighters for the Portuguese air force. All three were to be modernized to the F-16AM mid-life upgrade standard by 2017. The aircraft were provided to Lisbon by the U.S. in August 2013 as excess defense articles. The fighters were acquired after Portugal sold nine F-16AM single-seat and three F-16BM two-seat aircraft to Romania under a 2013 agreement.
The Air Force Times reported on March 26, 2015, that the commander of First Air Force, which is responsible for homeland defense, had filed an urgent operational need request for new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars for F-16s flown by Air National Guard units under his command. The service said it would make a final decision on its plan for the modernization within a few months. The F-16s of the 113th Wing of the Washington, D.C., Air National Guard at Joint Base Andrews, Md., would be the first to be upgraded. The improvements would also include a surveillance system and a command-and-control system, according to Air Force officials. The modernization was expected to cost US$3.2 million per aircraft.
On March 31, 2015, the U.S. government announced that it would resume suspended military aid to Egypt. The decision would permit Cairo to obtain military equipment that had been placed on hold when the aid was halted in October 2013 several months after a military coup. This included 12 F-16 fighters, 20 Harpoon anti-ship missiles and up to 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits. The F-16s involved were in the latest Block 50 configuration with APG-68 fire-control radar and AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pods, according to Forecast International.
Combat Aircraft for April 2015 reported that the Israeli air force had retired its highest-scoring F-16 fighter. The F-16A Netz scored 6.5 aerial kills during operations against Syrian forces in Lebanon in 1982. The jet also participated in the mission to destroy the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981.
Jane's International Defence Review reported on April 9, 2015, that the Turkish air force planned to equip its early model F-16s with the Exelis AN/ALQ-211 (V)9 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) pod. Lockheed Martin was awarded a US$14 million contract to perform the integration work. Turkey planned to upgrade 37 F-16C/D Block 30; 101 Block 40; and 72 Block 50 aircraft. Work under the contract was to be completed by Dec. 31, 2017. Thirty F-16C/D Block 50 jets ordered by Ankara under the Peace Onyx IV program were delivered with the AIDEWS pod.
The Turkish air force received the last of 163 F-16C/D fighters to have been modernized with new avionics and an expanded weapons capability at the Turkish Aerospace Industries facility in Ankara on April 10, 2015. Under the program, the fighters were brought up to a standard equivalent to the U.S. Air Force CCIP. The modernized F-16s feature the AN/APG-68 (V)9 radar; AIM-9X air-to-air missiles; Link 16 data link; color cockpit displays; JHMCS; night-vision goggles; new IFF systems; integrated navigation and electronic warfare systems; and new core avionics processors, reported Combat Aircraft.
Combat Aircraft for May 2015 reported that the commander of the First Air Force/Air Forces North, which is responsible for air sovereignty of the continental U.S., recently filed an urgent operational need request for the installation of APG-83 SABR radars on Air National Guard F-16C Block 30 jets assigned to the aerospace control alert mission.
On May 5, 2015, Jane's Defence Weekly reported that the U.S. Dept. of Defense had issued a request for information to overhaul the wings of its Block 40 to Block 50 F-16 fighters. The request, issued on April 30, covered 136 aircraft, with work set to run from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2025. The U.S. Air Force had more than 1,000 F-16C/D Block 40/42/50/52 aircraft at the time. The service wanted to upgrade around 350 of its F-16s under a service life-extension program to fill the gap until the F-35A reaches full operational capability around 2022.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on May 7, 2015, that the State Dept. had approved a potential U.S. Foreign Military Sale to Singapore for the F-16 Block 52 upgrade program. The potential US$130 million deal covered modernization to address reliability, supportability and combat effectiveness of Singapore's aging F-16 fleet. The proposed sale included 50 joint helmet-mounted cueing systems (JHMCS); 90 AN/APX-126 advanced IFF interrogator/transponders; 150 LAU-129 missile launchers; eight KMU-572/B Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits; nine KMU-556/B 2,000-pound JDAM tail kits; two FMU-152 munition fuze units; 10 Mk 82 500-pound inert bombs; three Mk 84 2,000-pound inert bombs; and 12 LN-260 embedded GPS /inertial navigation systems. Singapore previously requested 70 JHMCS, noted Flight International.
Also covered were 20 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs; 92 Link 16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System/Low Volume Terminals (MIDS/LVT); various JDAM equipment; spare and repair parts; and associated technical and logistics support.
Lockheed announced on May 11, 2015, that the Romanian and Thai air forces had recently selected the Sniper targeting pod for their F-16 fighters. Pod deliveries started in early 2015 to meet operational requirements, according to a company release.
The U.S. Air Force deactivated the 308th Fighter Squadron "Emerald Knights," stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., on June 25, 2015. The unit had served as an F-16 training squadron as part of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke for 21 years. The squadron's aircraft were to be transferred to Holloman AFB, N.M. F-16s at Luke were being phased out in favor of the new F-35 . The 309th and 310th Fighter squadrons were expected to continue the F-16 training mission at Luke for another five years, said Air Force officials.
On June 30, 2015, the Singapore government announced that the air force planned to equip its F-16 fighters with a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, which would extend the aircraft's detection range and allow it to track and engage multiple targets at longer range. The modernization would also equip the jets with an all-weather ground-attack capability, permitting Singapore F-16s to use more capable precision munitions, such as the Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (LJDAM ). Advanced air-to-air weapons would be equipped, as well as a data link capability and advanced helmet-mounted display. The F-16 modernization was scheduled to begin in 2016 and take place in phases over five to six years, the government said in a release.
Jane's Defence Weekly noted that Singapore had requested Link 16 data links, Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems and integration of the AIM-9X Sidewinder as part of the F-16 upgrade program. Singapore also sought the AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar ; GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM); GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB ); CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon; and GBU-49/50 Enhanced Paveway II dual-mode guided bombs.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on July 15, 2015, that the State Dept. had approved a potential Foreign Military Sale to South Korea for the KF-16 upgrade program. The estimated US$2.5 billion program covered the modernization of 134 KF-16C/D Block 52 fighters. The project included 150 MMC 7000AH modular mission computers; 150 active electronically scanned array radars; 150 AN/APX-125 or equivalent advanced identification-friend-or-foe (AIFF) systems; 150 LN-260 embedded GPS /INS; 150 upgraded radar warning receivers; 150 AN/ALQ-213 electronic warfare management units; three Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) II Group C helmets; 150 JHMCS II Group A and B helmets; 31 joint mission planning systems; five GBU-54 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munitions (LJDAM ); five KMU-57C/B bomb tail kits; two GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb guided test vehicles; eight GBU-39 SDB tactical training rounds; two BRU-61 SDB common carriage assemblies; five Mk 82 GP practice bombs; two joint programmable fuzes; two CBU-105 Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD ) Sensor Fuzed Weapons (SFW); one CNU-411C/E; one WCMD container; two ATM-65 Maverick training missiles; two ATM-84 Harpoon Block II training missiles; two AGM-84 Harpoon Block II guidance units; two CATM-9X-2 captive air training missiles; and an AIM-9X -2 guidance unit. The South Korean air force was upgrading its KF-16 fleet to better support its air defense requirements, according to an agency release. Lockheed Martin would be the prime contractor. South Korea had previously selected BAE Systems for the modernization, but terminated it after additional costs were added, noted Defense News.
On July 13, 2015, Iraq received the first four of 36 F-16IQ Block 52 fighters ordered from the United States. Thirty-five were to be delivered following a fatal crash in June 2015, noted Flight International. The aircraft arrived at the Balad air base, north of Baghdad, reported Reuters. The F-16IQ is considered a downgrade from the F-16C/D Block 52 as part of U.S. efforts to alleviate the concerns of regional allies, reported Rudaw, an Iraqi Kurdish publication.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo announced on July 30, 2015, that the U.S. would deliver eight F-16 Block 52 fighters to Egypt on July 30 and 31. The aircraft were flown directly from the U.S. and immediately joined the Egyptian air force, the embassy said. The last four of the 20 ex-U.S. Air Force jets were delivered on Nov. 4, 2015.
The Bangkok Post reported on Aug. 1, 2015, that the Thai Cabinet had authorized the air force to move forward with the US$262 million mid-life update of the last batch of F-16 fighters. Six F-16s had already completed the upgrade, with six more then in the midst of modernization. All 18 F-16s were to be upgraded by the end of 2017.
Defense News reported on Aug. 10, 2015, that Turkish authorities had approved the upgrading of a batch of 25 F-16 Block 30 fighters. The modernization program for Turkey's oldest F-16s was intended as a stop-gap until Ankara could build its own fighter or begin to take delivery of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The Block 30 aircraft to be upgraded were delivered between 1988 and 1990. Most were reaching the end of their service lives of 8,000 flight hours. The modernization would mostly focus on structural and fuselage improvements, officials said.
Flight International reported on Aug. 19, 2015, that Israel was upgrading its F-16I fighters with several unspecified systems in order to deal with an increased threat from surface-to-air missiles and destroy surface-to-surface missile sites that are prepared for launches into Israel, said an unnamed senior air force officer. Separately, the air force was also equipping a squadron of F-16Is with the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb.
The Yonhap news agency (Seoul) reported on Sept. 22, 2015, that the South Korean air force planned to integrate the Israeli Spice -2000 guided munition aboard its KF-16 fighters to give them a long-range strike capability. The capability was expected to enter service in 2016.
On Oct. 5, 2015, the U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a US$54.6 million contract modification to install 142 aircraft kits to upgrade Taiwan's F-16 fleet. Work would take place in Taiwan and was expected to be completed by May 31, 2022.
On that same date, Lockheed reported that the Royal Netherlands Air Force had selected the Sniper targeting pod to equip its F-16 fighters. A total of 29 pods were to be acquired, with deliveries starting in the first quarter of 2016.
An upgraded F-16V equipped with the AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) made its first flight on Oct. 16, 2015. The plane used was a Taiwanese F-16A Block 20 that was fitted with the new radar.
The New York Times reported on Oct. 21, 2015, that the U.S. was preparing to sell eight new F-16 fighters to Pakistan as part of efforts to bolster bilateral security cooperation. The deal would still have to be approved by Congress, which was already blocking State Dept. efforts to transfer ex-U.S. Coast Guard cutters to Islamabad.
The U.S. delivered an additional four F-16 Block 52 fighters to the Egyptian air force on Oct. 29, 2015. The aircraft were the last of a 20-unit, US$3.2 billion order in 2009, reported Ahram Online (Egypt).
Lockheed Martin announced on Nov. 3, 2015, that it had completed more than 27,000 hours of simulated flight time on an F-16C Block 50 aircraft. The company was analyzing the information to determine the durability of he aircraft beyond its designed service life of 8,000 hours. The aircraft was tested to 27,713 equivalent flight hours during 32 rounds of comprehensive stress tests at a Lockheed facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The airframe was then subjected to several maximum-load conditions to demonstrate that it retained sufficient strength to operate within its full operational flight envelope. The results of the durability trials would be used to help design and verify the service life-extension program (SLEP) structural modifications for post-Block 40 F-16s and to support F-16 service life certification to at least 12,000 equivalent flight hours. The SLEP was intended to extend the service life of up to 300 F-16C/D Block 40-52 jets.
Lockheed Martin expected it would soon receive approval to begin an upgrade for South Korea's KF-16 fighters, reported Flight International for Nov. 3, 2015. Once an agreement was reached between Seoul and Washington, Lockheed would upgrade two KF-16s, one single-seat and one two-seat aircraft, to the F-16V configuration. Those aircraft were already in storage in the U.S. having been part of the cancelled BAE Systems-led project. The remaining 132 jets will be modernized in South Korea.
Flight International reported on Nov. 25, 2015, that the U.S. Air Force had denied plans to buy additional F-15 or F-16 fighters after reports that it could be seeking up to 72 new jets. A senior U.S. Air Combat Command official at a fighter conference in London earlier in the month indicated that the current F-35 procurement plan could prove unaffordable. As a result, another wing of F-15s, F-16s or possibly F/A-18E/F Super Hornets was being considered to supplement the existing fleet. The Air Force planned to buy 1,763 F-35As through 2038. In the meantime, it anticipated upgrading its F-15s and F-16s with new active electronically scanned array radars and electronic warfare systems. Outgoing Air Force acquisition chief Bill Laplante dismissed suggestions that another wing of F-15s or F-16s was being sought, but acknowledged the difficulty of affording the F-35 . The opportunity to purchase additional legacy fighters was closing, with the F-15 , F-16 and Super Hornet lines all potentially concluding before 2020 should no further orders be made.
On Dec. 1, 2015, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a US$914 million contract for the modernization of F-16 fighters for Singapore. Work under the contract was scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2023. Details of the modernization were not provided. The Singapore government previously indicated plans to install an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and updated avionics to enhance all-weather, ground attack capabilities, reported Flight International. Industry sources previously said that the Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR ) had been selected for the upgrade.
Flight International reported on Dec. 7, 2015, that the Israeli air force planned to deactivate one of its F-16C/D squadrons in 2017, when its new F-35 Adirs reached initial operational capability. Cutting the F-16 squadron was part of a program to tailor the air force's fleet to future challenges, while recognizing budgetary limitations.
The Korea Times reported on Dec. 16, 2015, that the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) had selected Lockheed Martin to upgrade the air force's 134 KF-16 fighters. Price negotiations were underway with a contract expected to be signed by the end of 2015. The deal was estimated to be worth US$1.9 billion. The DAPA also selected Northrop Grumman to supply the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar as part of the modernization. South Korea initially selected BAE Systems for the project, but Seoul cancelled the deal after BAE Systems demanded additional money.
Taiwan's Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. (AIDC) began modernizing the first four of 144 air force F-16A/Bs to the F-16V configuration at its plant in Taichung on Jan. 16, 2017. Under the US$3.47 billion Project Phoenix Rising, Taiwan plans to modernize all 144 jets by 2023. In 2015, Lockheed completed the upgrade and testing of a Taiwanese F-16 stationed at a U.S. Air Force base, reported the Taipei Times. The modernization includes an AESA radar; advanced avionics with a new flight-management system and helmet-mounted display; and integration with more advanced weapons, such as the AIM-9X Sidewinder .
Defense News reported on Jan. 27, 2017, that the Norwegian government had decided to scrap its F-16 fleet once the F-35 was fully operational. The government expected to conclude F-16 operations at the end of 2021. Between 2018 and 2021, the Norwegian F-16s would see fewer flight hours as the F-35 fleet works up. The age of the F-16 fleet would make it difficult to sell or retain them as a reserve. Restrictions on re-selling U.S. weapons also increased the difficulty of transferring the fighters, Norwegian officials said.
The Quwa website reported on Jan. 30, 2017, that Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) would upgrade the Pakistani air force's 45 F-16A/B Block 15 MLU fighters. The work would involve optimizing "the aircraft's cockpit for night flights," according to Turkish defense website C4Defence. Two F-16s had already been upgraded at the Shabaz Air Base in Pakistan. TAI would also supply 43 upgrade kits to permit the work to take place domestically. The work was reportedly taking place under a US$75 million contract awarded in May 2016.
The Kathimerini newspaper in Greece reported on Feb. 8, 2017, that Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos had signed a letter of request for a program to upgrade the air force's F-16 fighters. The cost of modernizing the entire F-16 fleet was estimated US$1.7 billion to US$2 billion. Athens was considering bringing its fighters to the F-16V configuration, according to the paper.
Danish firm Terma reported on Feb. 20, 2017, that it had signed a contract with the Royal Netherlands Air Force to upgrade the service's F-16s. The deal covered updates to existing Pylon Integrated Dispenser System, Universal (PIDSU) to PIDS+ with Flare-Up. The upgraded capability uses the Airbus AAR-60(V)2 MILDS -F to detect incoming missiles and the Flare-Up dispenser releases flares, the company said. The missile warning installation consists of six sensors and a processor. Three sensors are installed in both the left-hand and right-hand pylon, providing nearly spherical coverage. The processor is installed in the right-hand pylon. Terma was also delivering Flare-Up kits for U.S. Air National Guard F-16s.
The U.S. Air Force announced on March 17, 2017, that it had just delivered four more refurbished and upgraded F-16C/D fighters to Indonesia. Each aircraft had a new set of wings, horizontal stabilizers and landing gear, along with structural and avionics enhancements. The final batch of six jets would be delivered by the end of 2017, the service said. Indonesia had ordered 24 refurbished F-16s.
Defense One reported on March 22, 2017, that Lockheed Martin planned relocate its F-16 production line from Texas to South Carolina. The company would deliver the last fighter from its Fort Worth factory in September 2017, then take a two-year break in production to move the line to Greenville, S.C., company officials said. The F-35 assembly line will expand into the vacated space. Declining orders for the F-16 made the production gap possible.
Lockheed Martin announced on April 12, 2017, that the U.S. Air Force had authorized extending the designed service life of the F-16 from 8,000 to 12,000 equivalent flight hours. Following structural modifications, the Air Force could safely operate Block 40-52 aircraft beyond 2048, the company said. The Air Force and Lockheed also reduced projected service life costs for the Block 40-52 fleet. Validation of the extended flight hour limit supports the service life-extension program goal of extending the operational life of up to 300 F-16C/D Block 40-52 aircraft, said Lockheed.
On April 21, 2017, the U.S. and Indonesia signed a US$10 billion trade and investment agreement, which included the purchase of Sniper pods for the air force's F-16 fighters, reported Defense News, citing the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta. The embassy did not specify how many pods would be acquired. Procurement plans in 2014 indicated that Jakarta was seeking 16 pods. Indonesia was in the process of receiving 24 F-16C /D Block 25 fighters, which were granted as excess defense articles by the U.S. in 2011. As of March 2017, 19 aircraft had been delivered, with the balance to be handed over by the end of 2017. It was unlikely that Indonesia's F-16A/B Block 15 aircraft, which were obtained in the 1980s and had not been upgraded, would be able to employ the Sniper pods, the newspaper said.
Northrop Grumman announced on June 7, 2017, that the U.S. Air Force had selected its APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR ) as the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar upgrade for its F-16s. Under the program, Northrop Grumman will modernize 72 Air National Guard F-16s with the radar to meet an emergent operational need for the U.S. Northern Command. The upgrade will extend the operational viability and reliability of the F-16 and provide pilots with advanced radar capabilities to counter and defeat increasingly sophisticated threats. The SABR will allow the F-16 to detect, track and identify greater numbers of targets faster and at longer ranges, said Northrop Grumman. The contract, awarded on May 31, 2017, was worth US$243.8 million. Work was to be completed by Jan. 31, 2019.
The U.S. Air Force reported on July 14, 2017, that the 35th Fighter Wing's F-16s Misawa Air Base, Japan, had received an avionics upgrade. The M7 .1 modernization fuses information with aircraft sensors and the pilot's head-up display, improving situational awareness during suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD) training missions. Multiple changes to hands-on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) functionality allows pilots to use displays more effectively while keeping their hands on the controls, said Air Force officials.
On Sept. 3, 2017, the Taiwanese air force announced that it had begun upgrading its fleet of F-16A/B fighters with new electronic countermeasures (ECM) pods on a small scale. The modernization would improve the aircraft's air-to-air and air-to-ground surveillance capabilities. The service had 80 AN/ALQ-184(V) ECM pods and had allocated US$160 million to buy 42 new ALQ-131A pods through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. However, increased research and development costs meant that the air force could only afford 12 of the systems, reported the Taipei Times. Development and testing of the new pods had been completed and production was underway in small batches. Further improvements were possible, according to the air force.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency on Sept. 8, 2017, announced that the U.S. State Dept. had approved two potential Foreign Military Sales for F-16 aircraft and upgrades to Bahrain. One possible sale, worth up to US$2.8 billion, covered 19 F-16V fighters as well as 19 M61 Vulcan 20-mm gun systems; 22 F-16V F110-GE-129 engines (with three spares); 22 APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars (three spare); 22 modular mission computers (three spare); 22 Embedded Global Navigation Systems/LN260 EGI (three spares); 22 improved programmable display generators (iPDG) (three spares); and 38 LAU-129 launchers.
Also included in the potential deal were 19 AN/ALQ-211 AIDEWS electronic warfare systems; 38 LAU-118A launchers; 42 AN/ARC-238 SINCGARS radio or equivalent; 22 AN/APX-126 advanced identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) system or equivalent; 22 cryptographic appliques; secure communication equipment; spare and repair parts; and associated technical and logistics support.
Another proposed sale to Bahrain, worth about US$1.1 billion, was for the upgrade of its 20 F-16 Block 40 aircraft to the F-16V configuration. The potential deal would also include 23 F110-GE-129 engines (including three spare); 23 APG-83 AESA radars (three spare); 23 modular mission computers (three spare); 23 Embedded Global Navigation Systems/LN260 EGI (three spare); 23 improved programmable display generators (iPDGs) (three spares); 40 LAU-129 launchers; and 25 AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Pods.
The potential sale also covers two AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles; two AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM ); two WGU-43 Guidance Control Units for GBU-24 Paveway III bombs; two BSU-84 airfoil group (AFG)s for GBU-24 Paveway III ; five KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Tailkits (for GBU-38 JDAM and GBU-54 Laser JDAM ); two GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB ) guided test vehicles (GTV); two AGM-84 Harpoon exercise missiles; three MAU-210 ECCG for the GBU-50 Enhanced Paveway II; three BLU-109 inert bomb bodies; and four MK-82/BLU-111 inert bomb bodies.
The possible deal also features a joint mission planning system; an F-16V simulator; (20) AN/ALQ-211 AIDEWS; an avionics level test station; six DB-110 advanced reconnaissance systems; two LAU-118A Launchers; 45 AN/ARC-238 SINCGARS Radio or equivalent; 23 advanced identification-friend-or-foe (AIFF) systems or equivalent; 23 cryptographic appliques; two CATM-9L/M Sidewinder captive air training missiles (CATM); two AIM-120C -7 AMRAAM CATM; three MXU-651 AFG for GBU-50 Enhanced Paveway II; four DSU-38 Precision Laser Guidance sets (PLGS) for GBU-54 Laser JDAM ; four AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW ) captive flight vehicles; three MK-84/BLU-117 Inert Bomb Bodies; and associated other equipment, spare and repair parts and support.
Indonesia's national Antara News reported on Sept. 8, 2017, that F-16A/B Bloc 15 OCU fighters from No. 16 Squadron at Roesmin Nurjadin Air Force Base in Riau would be upgraded at Iswahjudi Air Force Base in East Java. The work would focus on improving the avionics on the jets. The air force was replacing the F-16A/Bs at Roesmin Nurjadin AFB with F-16C/D Block 52ID aircraft that had been stationed at Iswahjudi since 2016, officials said.
The Taipei Times reported on Sept. 16, 2017, that the cost of a modernization program for Taiwan's F-16 fighters had grown to US$4.31 billion, an increase of about US$653 million. The unexpected increase was attributed to U.S. military demands that Taipei cover more of the research costs associated with the upgrade and the cost of the anti-radar missiles the U.S. agreed to integrate with the aircraft, said an unnamed military source. The modernization would bring the F-16A/B aircraft to the latest F-16V configuration. This includes the AN/APG-83 AESA radar, upgraded mission computer system and cockpit improvements.
On Sept. 18, 2017, the U.S. Air Force awarded BAE Systems, Totowa, N.J., a US$49.6 million Foreign Military Sales contract to upgrade the radar warning receiver on South Korean KF-16C/Ds to a new configuration. Work was scheduled to be completed by July 31, 2020. The contract was part of a wider program to modernize 134 of Seoul's 170 KF-16s, noted Jane's International Defence Review.
ACT Media, the Romanian news agency, reported on Sept. 28, 2017, that Romanian authorities were in "advanced discussions" with the U.S. for the purchase of an additional 36 F-16s. The last three F-16s purchased from Portugal were handed over on Sept. 27, 2017, at the Monte Real air base in Portugal. The jets arrived at Air Base 86 in southeastern Borcea on Oct. 6, 2017. Portugal was scheduled to provide joint training on the F-16 until late 2018.
On Oct. 17, 2017, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that the U.S. State Dept. had approved a potential US$2.4 billion deal with Greece for the modernization of F-16 fighters to the F-16V configuration.
The proposed project included 125 APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, including two spares; 123 modular mission computers; 123 Link 16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS-JTRS ) with TACAN and EHSI; 13 LN26 embedded GPS /inertial navigation systems; and 123 improved programmable display generators.
The potential sale also included up to 123 APX-126 advanced identification-friend-or-foe (AIFF) combined interrogator transponders; a joint mission planning system; an F-16V simulator; upgrades to two existing simulators; an avionics level test station; secure communications; cryptographic and navigation equipment; and upgrade and integration of the Advanced Self-Protection Integrated Suite (ASPIS) I to ASPIS II on 26 F-16s; and associated technical and logistics support.
The fighter upgrades would bring Greece's fleet of Block 30, Block 50, Block 52+ and Block 52+ Advanced aircraft to the F-16V standard, reported Defense News.
Gulf News (Dubai) reported on Oct. 18, 2017, that Bahrain had finalized a US$3.8 billion contract with Lockheed Martin to buy 16 upgraded F-16V fighters.
On Oct. 25, 2017, the last six of 15 surplus F-16 fighters sold to Jordan by the Netherlands departed the European country. The aircraft completed a mid-life update, bringing them to a Block 50 configuration, prior to delivery, reported defense-aerospace.com. The agreement for the sale was reached in 2013. The aircraft are being based at Al-Azraq Air Base in Jordan, noted Jane's Defence Weekly.
The Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced on Nov. 2, 2017, that it had received three more F-16s from the U.S. The delivery brought the fleet to 17 aircraft, according to the Rudaw (Iraqi Kurdistan).
Aviation Week & Space Technology reported on Nov. 13, 2017, that the U.A.E. military had signed a US$1.65 billion support upgrade contract with Lockheed Martin for its F-16 Block 60 fighters. The modernization would address obsolescence issues with the aircraft, which were ordered in 2000, said Emirati military officials.
Rockwell Collins reported on Nov. 29, 2017, that a U.S. Air Force F-16 would be the first aircraft to be equipped with the company's next-generation ARC-210 RT-2036(C) networked communications airborne radio. The system was the first to include Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) and support Soldier Radio Waveform capabilities.
AIN Online reported on Dec. 18, 2017, the the Indonesian air force received its last six of 24 refurbished former U.S. Air Force F-16C/D fighters earlier in December 2017. The Peace Bima Sena II program, which began in 2011, covered 19 F-16C Block 25 and five F-16D aircraft. The fighters were refurbished and upgraded to the F-16 Block 52 ID configuration. The modernization includes the AN/APG-68 (V) radar; MMC-7000A version of the M-5 modular mission computer; Link 16 data links; AN/ALQ-213 electronic warfare management systems; and ALR-69 Class IV radar warning receiver. The aircraft are also certified for AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles and AN/AAQ-33 Sniper and AN/AAQ-28 Litening targeting pods.
The Sofia Globe reported on Jan. 9, 2019, that the Bulgarian Cabinet had decided to ask the Parliament to approve the launch of negotiations with the U.S. on the procurement of F-16 fighters. A military-political committee on Dec. 21 had recommended the F-16 Block 70 over the Swedish offer for new Gripen jets and an Italian offer for used Eurofighter Typhoons. The decision was made in part because of the U.S. offer for a complete package that included weapons and equipment. Defense Minister Krassimir Karakachanov emphasized that the move was about starting negotiations and not a purchase. The government also wanted lawmakers to agree to change the US$1.1 billion cap for the program. The U.S. offer exceeded that figure, although Washington had indicated that it could amend its offer.
The Jerusalem Post reported on Jan. 10, 2019, that following months of delays, a planned sale of F-16 fighter jets to Croatia would not go forward. Croatia was seeking to buy 12 former Israeli air force F-16 Barak fighters for US$500 million to replace its aging MiG-21 jets. The U.S. blocked the sale, saying the aircraft needed to be returned to their original state, without Israeli technology, before they could be sold to Croatia. The Israeli systems were a key reason by Zagreb chose to buy the used jets.
On Feb. 7, 2019, the Daily Sabah (Istanbul) reported that the Turkish air force was fielding a new domestic electronic warfare system on its F-16 fighters. The Aselsan SPEWS II had recently completed testing and entered service. At the time, 22 Turkish F-16s had been equipped with the new system. The SPEWS II features a radar warning receiver and electronic countermeasures. Plans called for the procurement of 60 systems, including seven pre-production models for Turkey's F-16 Block 50C jets. The AN/ALQ-178(V)5+ system provides smart control of the chaff/flare dispensers, noted the Yeni Safak (Istanbul).
On Feb. 27, 2019, the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense formally submitted its request to buy 66 F-16V fighters from the United States at a cost of US$7.76 billion to US$8.1 billion. A decision was anticipated within 120 days. Deliveries could begin as soon as late 2020, reported the Taiwan News on March 11, 2019. At the time, an exact price had not been determined. It would depend on the specifications and equipment chosen for the fighters. The proposed deal also covered training, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and two years of in-service support, reported the Apple Daily. The new jets would likely be stationed at Chingchuankang Air Force Base in Taichung City, while the Ching-Kuo Indigenous Defense Fighters now there would relocate to the east coast to replace F-5E/F jets slated for retirement.
Jane's Defence Weekly reported on March 13, 2019, had launched a process to acquire 36 more F-16 fighters to replace its aging fleet of MiG-21 jets. Defense Minister Gabriel Les said that Bucharest was looking to acquire new-build jets, but used aircraft could be acquired, which would be upgraded by Romanian industry. At the time, the Romanian air force had 12 used F-16 Block 15 mid-life update jets purchased from Portugal.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced a pair of potential Foreign Military Sales deals for F-16 fighters with Morocco on March 25, 2019. One deal, worth up to US$985.2 million, covered the modernization of Morocco's 23 existing F-16 fighters to the F-16V configuration. The request also included 26 APG-83 AESA radars (including three spares); 26 modular mission computers (three spares); 26 Link 16 multifunctional information distribution system-JTRS (MIDS-JTRS) with TACAN and ESHI terminals (three spares); 26 LN260 embedded global navigation systems (three spares); 26 Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems II (three spares); 26 improved programmable display generators (three spares); 50 LAU-129 multipurpose launchers; 26 AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pods; 26 AN/ALQ-213 electronic warfare management systems; 26 advanced IFF systems; 26 AN/ALQ-211 AIDEWS; six DB-110 reconnaissance pods; and associated other equipment.
A second possible sale, worth US$3.79 billion, covered 25 F-16C/D Block 72 aircraft. The proposal also included 29 Pratt & Whitney F100-229 engines (including four spares); 26 APG-83 radars (one spare); 26 modular mission computers (one spare); 26 Link 16 MIDS-JTRS with TACAN and ESHI terminals (one spare); 26 LN260 embedded global navigation systems (one spare); 40 JHMCS (five spares); 26 improved programmable display generators (one spare); 30 20-mm M61A1 Vulcan cannons; 50 LAU-29 multipurpose launchers; 40 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAMs; 40 AIM-120C-7 guidance sections; three GBU-38/54 JDAM tail kits; 60 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs; 26 Sniper pods; 26 advanced IFF; 26 AN/ALQ-211 AIDEWS; and six DB-110 reconnaissance pods.
The proposed sales would increased Morocco's self-defense capabilities and enhance interoperability with the U.S., said the DSCA.
On June 3, 2019, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that the U.S. State Dept. had approved a potential Foreign Military Sale of F-16 fighters to Bulgaria. The proposed US$1.7 billion deal covered eight F-16C/D Block 70/72 aircraft; 10 General Electric F110 engines (including two spares); 10 Link 16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System-JTRS (MIDS-JTRS) radio systems (two spares); and nine improved program display generators (one spare).
The potential sale also included nine AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array radars (one spare); four AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pods; nine Modular Mission Computers 7000AH (one spare); nine LN-260 embedded GPS/inertial navigation system; nine 20-mm M61 Vulcan cannons; 16 AIM-120C7 AMRAAMs and one spare guidance section; 24 AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles, eight captive air-training missiles and four spare tactical guidance sections; and 48 LAU-129 multipurpose launchers.
Other equipment covered included 15 GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II kits; 15 GBU-54 Laser JDAM kits; 28 GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs; 24 Mk 82 bombs; nine ALQ-211 Internal Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (one spare); nine AN/ALE-47 countermeasure dispensers (one spare); and associated training, technical and logistics equipment.
The proposed deal would enhance Bulgaria's ability to defend its airspace, contribute to regional stability and strengthen interoperability with its allies, said an agency release.
Terma announced on June 19, 2019, that it had completed deliveries of missile warning system and 3D audio upgrades for Belgian and Dutch F-16 fighters. The fighters have been equipped with the Hensoldt AAR-60(V)2 missile warning system. Denmark was the launch customer for the pylon-based installation of the system, which has also been acquired by Norway.
On July 11, 2019, the Sofia Globe reported that Bulgarian Deputy Defense Minister Atanas Zapryanov had revealed that the government planned to buy an additional eight F-16 fighters. The announcement, made in a television interview, came a day after the Cabinet approved a US$1.25 billion deal with the U.S. for eight F-16s. Bulgaria would make a single payment for those jets, while the second batch would be paid for in installments, said Zapryanov. The second batch would also be cheaper overall since much of the support equipment would be acquired in the first phase, he said. The initial batch, covering six single-seat and two two-seat F-16s, would be delivered by 2023. The deal still required approval by the Parliament, noted the news website.
On July 23, 2019, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev vetoed a deal for eight F-16s after expressing concern over a lack of consensus over the procurement. Sharp disagreements in Parliament during the debate over the ratification of the US$1.26 billion deal indicated that a public consensus on the deal had not been sought or achieved, Radev said. Lawmakers had approved the procurement on July 19, noted the Sofia Globe. The ruling center-right GERB party defended the purchase and expressed its readiness for another vote to overrule the president's veto. On July 26, 2019, lawmakers voted to overturn the veto, reported Reuters.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a US$800 million contract on July 31, 2019, for the production and support of 14 F-16 Block 70 jets for the Slovak Republic. Work under the contract was scheduled to be completed by Jan. 31, 2024.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on Aug. 20, 2019, that the U.S. State Dept. had approved a potential Foreign Military Sale of F-16s to Taiwan. The proposed US$8 billion deal covered 66 F-16C/D Block 70 jets; 75 GE F110 engines (nine spares); 75 Link 16 data link systems (nine spares); 75 APG-83 AESA radars (nine spares); 75 7000AH modular mission computers (nine spares); 75 LN-260 embedded GPS/INS (nine spares); and 75 20-mm M61 Vulcan cannons (nine spares).
The possible sale also included 75 AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispensers (nine spares); 120 ALE-50 decoys or equivalent; 75 APX-126 advanced identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) systems (nine spares); 75 AN/ALQ-211A(V)4 airborne integrated defensive electronic warfare suite (AIDEWS) or equivalent (nine spares); 150 ARC-238 radios (18 spares); 27 Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS) with night-vision device compatibility or Scorpion hybrid optical-based inertial tracker helmet-mounted cueing system with NVD compatibility; and associated equipment, technical and logistics support.
The F-16s would enhance Taiwan's ability to defend its airspace, contribute to regional security and enhance interoperability with the U.S., the agency said.
Taiwan's Central News Agency reported on Sept. 5, 2019, that the Taiwanese Cabinet had passed a draft bill that setting the stage for the procurement of a new fleet of advanced F-16 fighters from the U.S. at a cost of US$8.08 billion. The bill would permit the Cabinet to create a special budget to cover the purchase through Dec. 31, 2026. Taipei anticipated taking delivery of 66 F-16Vs between 2023 and 2026, officials said.
On Oct. 16, 2019, Taiwanese Defense Minister Yeh Teh-fa told lawmakers that issues with the F-16 upgrade program had been resolved and that all 142 modernized jets were slated to be delivered by 2023, reported the South China Morning Post. The Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. (AIDC) had failed to deliver six upgraded F-16s in the first quarter of 2019 as scheduled. The company had suffered from a personnel shortage that contributed to the delay, but hired additional engineers that would ensure the project would be completed on time, said Yen. In 2019, AIDC had completed updating six F-16s, well below plans for six to be upgraded each quarter, the newspaper said.
The modernization included updated radar, computer components and modified landing gear. The computer elements would improve the search, tracking and targeting capabilities of the AN/APG-83 radar, according to Taiwanese media. The upgraded radar has a 30 percent greater detection range, with detection capability increased by 220 percent. The self-protection capability of the F-16s was also said to have increased by 180 percent. At the same time, the latest Taiwanese budget documents indicated plans to integrate the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) and install an automatic ground-collision avoidance system. Those projects were expected to cost US$325 million. With the increase, the total upgrade program was estimated to be worth US$4.56 billion.
The Taipei Times reported on Nov. 13, 2019, that the Taiwanese Defense Ministry expected to receive a single-seat and a two-seat F-16V from the U.S. in 2023. In 2024, Taiwan would begin to take delivery of additional jets in batches of four to five, with all 66 new-build aircraft to be handed over by 2026, said Defense Minister Yen Teh-fa. The order included 56 single-seat and 10 two-seat jets.
The South China Morning Post reported on Nov. 20, 2019, that the delays were primarily due to repairs not anticipated under the upgrade plan. The additional work was attributed to rust due to the humid weather in Taiwan, said an unnamed source.
Antara News, Indonesia's national news agency, reported on Oct. 29, 2019, that the Indonesian air force planned to purchase two squadrons of F-16 Block 72 fighter jets from the U.S.. The procurement was part of the service's strategic plan from 2020 to 2024.
Rohde & Schwarz announced on Nov. 20, 2019, that it had been chosen by Lockheed Martin as the preferred supplier for airborne communication systems for new-build F-16 Block 70 jets. The company would provide its AN/ARC-238 software-defined radio for Block 70 jets built for foreign customers. The ARC-238 is the U.S. version of the Rohde & Schwarz R&SMR6000R/L radio, said a release. The system consists of two transceivers, one installed in the avionic bay, remotely controlled, and one in the cockpit that can be operated from a local control panel. It can cover frequencies from 30 MHz to 400 MHz and support Have Quick II and SATURN NATO frequency-hopping algorithms. The company R&SSECOS waveform combines TRANSEC and COMSEC functionality in a single waveform and protects voice and data communications from eavesdropping.
On Nov. 28, 2019, the Romanian government approved the purchase of another five surplus F-16 fighters from Portugal. The proposal still had to be approved by Parliament. The draft legislation called for four of the jets to be delivered in 2020, with the last to follow in 2021. The aircraft would be delivered in the same M.5.2R configuration as Romania's first 12 F-16s. Bucharest said it planned to upgrade all 17 to a new standard designated M.6.X. Forecast International reported that four of the five new jets would be upgraded, but the fifth would be obtained as-is and used for spare parts. Romania had plans to acquire a total of 36 F-16s to replace its aging MiG-21s. The remainder of the fleet would likely be acquired from U.S. stocks.
An F-16 successfully destroyed a drone using an AGR-20A Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rocket in a test at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., on Dec. 19, 2019, reported Military.com. The unique test was intended to evaluate the ability of the rocket to defeat cruise missiles, Air Force officials said. During the trial, the F-16, which can carry up to 14 APKWS, scored a direct hit on a BQM-167 subscale drone using a single precision-guided rocket. The test demonstrated that the smaller rocket guided by an F-16 targeting pod is a viable alternative to the AIM-120 AMRAAM or other expensive advanced missiles for the cruise missile defense mission, officials said.
On Jan. 11, 2021, Northrop Grumman announced that it had been selected to provide a prototype electronic warfare suite for the U.S. Air Force F-16 fleet. The system under development would provide full-spectrum radar warning, threat identification and advanced countermeasure capabilities, the company said. It has demonstrated pulse-to-pulse operability with the AN/APG-83 radar, which was being integrated with U.S. F-16s. The new electronic warfare suite takes advantage of open systems and and an ultra wideband architecture to provide the greater instantaneous bandwidth needed to combat modern threats, said Northrop Grumman. It also shares a common technology baseline with the AC/MC-130J RF countermeasures program (ALQ-251) and AN/APR-39 radar warning receivers. The new suite is scalable and available in either an internal or podded configuration.
The $250 million development contract for the Northrop Grumman electronic warfare system was initially awarded in November 2020, but was not made public until early 2021, noted Air Force magazine. Development was not yet complete and a production decision had not been made. Consequently, the system had not been issued a designation. If successfully developed and fielded, it would replace an analog version of an existing radar warning receiver and several legacy jammers, Air Force officials said. If developed successfully, the Air Force could integrate the new electronic warfare system with up to 450 F-16s as part of a US$2.5 billion program, the magazine said. Fielding could took place as soon as 2024, said the service officials.
Defense News reported on Feb. 2, 2021, that Turkey had launched a program to increase the structural life of its F-16 Block 30 fighters from 8,000 flight hours to 12,000. The comprehensive modernization would include revisions, renewals, replacement and body reinforcement, covering 1,200 to 1,500 parts per aircraft, said Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) officials. The project indicated that Turkey intended to retain its F-16s as its main fighter until the indigenous TF-X was available, analysts said. Ankara was seeking options for next-generation fighters in part due to its expulsion from the F-35 program due to its procurement of Russian air defense systems.
Turkish Aerospace Industries would perform the structural upgrades as part of an ongoing modernization program, the paper said. At the time, TAI was building 30 new F-16 Block 50+ jets for the air force and managing an upgrade program for more than 160 F-16 Block 30/40/50 aircraft.
The War Zone website noted that it was unclear how many aircraft would be modernized. Previous reports indicated that a structural life-extension program began in 2018 for all 35 remaining Block 30 aircraft. For this program, Lockheed was supplying kits, with TAI integrating them and performing testing prior to redelivery to the Turkish air force. The website noted that Turkey had about 245 F-16s in service at the time.
On March 9, 2021, Belgium grounded its entire fleet of F-16 fighters after one of the jets experienced an issue with its Pratt & Whitney F100 engine, reported the War Zone. The air defense of Belgium was being provided by the Netherlands while the Belgian aircraft were down. The grounding came after a Feb. 11 incident, in which a Belgian F-16 experienced engine issues while taking off from Florennes Air Base and immediately made a precautionary landing. The incident left debris within the base and at the end of the runway. The fighter experienced a "nozzle burn through," in which the engine's "turkey feather" exhaust petals began to disintegrate due to excessive temperatures. The engine was subsequently dismantled and sent to the Patria Belgium Engine Center. An investigation identified the source of the problem as a hinge pin. The Belgian air force said a significant number of its engines had a similar issue. The service grounded its F-16s to check their engines. Other F-16 users in Europe were informed of the problem. The Dutch air force said that its fleet did not exhibit the problem.
C4ISRNet reported on March 22, 2021, that L3Harris had been selected to design a new electronic warfare suite for F-16 fighters for export. Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force had selected the company's Viper Shield electronic warfare system for the program. The new system offers greater situational awareness and can detect threats, cut through electromagnetic noise and perform active countermeasures against threats, company officials said. Viper Shield would enable aircraft to penetrate areas where hostile radars and missiles can detect an aircraft out of range of the aircraft's missiles and better enable allies to work alongside U.S. assets, according to L3Harris. At the time, the company was finalizing the design, with a production contract to follow.
Jane's reported on May 19, 2021, that the first 42 Taiwanese F-16s upgraded to the F-16V configuration had entered service with the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Chiayi air base in central Taiwan. The aircraft had entered service at the end of of March, a defense ministry spokesman told the publication. A total of 141 F-16A/B/C/D jets were set to receive the modernization under the Peace Phoenix Rising program.
Air Force magazine reported on May 24, 2021, that the Air Force's F-16 fleets had seen improved mission-capable rates from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2020. The F-16C fleet improved from 72.97 percent to 73.9 percent, while the F-16D fleet improved from 70.37 percent to 72.11 percent.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency reported on June 24, 2021, that the U.S. State Dept. had approved a potential Foreign Military Sale of F-16 fighters to the Philippines. The potential US$2.43 billion deal covered 10 F-16C Block 70/72 and two F-16D Block 70/72 jets; 15 F100-PW-229EEP or F110-GE-129D engines; and 15 Improved Programmable Display Generators (iPDG). The possible sale also included 15 AN/APG-83 SABR AESA radars; 15 7000AH modular mission computers; 15 LN-260 embedded GPS/INS (EGI) with SAASM and PPS; 24 AIM-120C-7/C-8 or equivalent air-to-air missiles; 3 KMU-572 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (LJDAM) tail kits; six Mk 82 500-lb bombs; six Mk 82 500-lb Inert training bombs; six FMU-152 or FMU-139 fuzes; six Sniper or Litening advanced targeting pods; 15 Multifunctional Information Display System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS-JTRS) aircraft terminals; and 15 20-mm M61A1 Vulcan cannons.
The request also covered were AN/ARC-238 radios; Advanced Identification Friend or Foe with Combined Interrogator Transponder and Mode 5; Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems II (JHMCS II) or Scorpion Hybrid Optical-based Inertial Tacker (HObIT); integrated electronic warfare suite; AN/ALE-47 countermeasure dispenser systems; Joint Mission Planning Systems (JMPS) or equivalent; and other associated equipment and technical and logistics support. The potential deal would enhance the ability of the Philippines to address current and future threats, the agency said.
The War Zone reported on June 30, 2021, that the Dutch government had agreed to transfer 12 F-16A/B fighters to Draken International, an adversary air support contractor. Draken joined Top Aces, another adversary air contractor, in operating F-16s to help meet growing demand for contractor adversary air support. The fighters were scheduled to leave Dutch air force service in 2022 as additional F-35s were delivered. The agreement with the Netherlands included an option for another 28 F-16s that were slated to be retired from Dutch service by the end of 2024. Contract signature was anticipated within weeks, with deliveries to begin in 2022. The value of the deal was not made public. The Draken F-16s were expected to be upgraded although no details had been provided. Such a modernization would likely involve a new mission computer, AESA radar, helmet-mounted sight and Link 16 data link, analysts said. The news site noted that as part of the Dutch divestment of its F-16s, it had sold a single-seat F-16 to Belgium in a deal announced in August 2021.
On July 6, 2021, the Wichita Eagle reported that two Air Force F-16s would be delivered to Wichita State University by the end of September 2021 as part of a "digital twin" program at the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR). The 3D replica created by NIAR through the four-year program would help extend the operational life of the aircraft. The Air Force's F-16 program office sponsored the project, in which two F-16s from the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base would be disassembled and scanned. Data collected could be used for digital engineering to extend the service life of the F-16. The full-scale 3D model, with the exception of the engine, would be used to help address future parts obsolescence and mitigate supply chain risks, Air Force officials said. Aircraft systems, including environmental control, hydraulic and fuel systems, would be modeled. The goal was also to save time and money on maintenance.
The Air Force News Service reported on July 31, 2021, that an F-16C Block 50 aircraft had received an in-flight software update as part of an Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) demonstration during a flight from Nellis AFB. During the flight, the F-16 updated its mission data file with information transmitted from hundreds of miles away using an existing F-16 beyond-line-of-sight satellite communication system, the service said. The fighter processed the update with custom-developed center display unit software and loaded the new data into the ALQ-213 countermeasures signal processor. The proof-of-concept test demonstrated the ability for a pilot to correlate a previously unknown electronic threat in near real time. The program goal is to fully integrate the ABMS with the F-16, enhancing combat capabilities and linking it with various capabilities across the Defense Dept., Air Force and Space Force.
The Central News Agency (Taiwan) reported on Sept. 21, 2021, that Taiwan had upgraded at least 42 of its 141 F-16A/Bs to the new F-16V configuration. These aircraft would form the first F-16V wing, which would be formally activated in November 2021 under the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Chiayi in southwestern Taiwan. All 141 aircraft were expected to be updated by 2023. The delivery of 66 new F-16Vs purchased from the U.S. was expected to begin in 2023.
In late October 2021, a Danish F-16 completed a series of flight demonstrations with Leonardo Compact Jamming System integrated with the Terma ECIPS pylon, reported the Danish defense firm on Dec. 23, 2021. Following the trials, Leonardo and Terma were prepared to offer the integrated solution to potential customers. The CJS has a small form factor and incorporates the latest digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) technology, which when integrated with Terma's modified F-16 wing weapon pylon retains the use of underwing stations to carry standard external stores, said Terma. The ECIPS-CJS provides persistent DRFM jamming capability and is a simple and cost-effective way for F-16 operators to equip their aircraft with high-powered protection against radar-guided threats, Leonardo officials said.
On Nov. 18, 2021, the Taiwanese air force formally commissioned three squadrons of upgraded F-16V fighters under the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing in Chiayi, reported the Central News Agency. At the time, 64 of the 141 aircraft had been upgraded to the F-16V configuration, officials said.
Also on Nov. 18, Northrop Grumman announced that the U.S. Air National Guard had flown its AN/ASQ-236 Dragon's Eye active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar pod for the first time on an operational F-16. The Air Force planned to field the pod with ANG and Air Force Reserve F-16s, the company said. The pod, already operational with U.S. F-15E Strike Eagles, provides all-weather, multitarget detection, track and engagement capability. The system would enable aircraft to detect, track, identify and target faster during operations, service officials said.
The War Zone website reported on Dec. 4, 2021, that Draken International had finalized a contract with Norway for up to 12 used F-16 fighters, which would join a dozen F-16s procured from the Netherlands earlier in 2021. The deal for the aircraft and "supporting assets" still needed to obtain approval from Norwegian and U.S. authorities, the company said. The value of the deal was not made public. Deliveries could begin as soon as early 2022, according to the Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency. The aircraft would support training against "American fighter aircraft." The last operational Norwegian F-16s were scheduled to leave service by the end of 2021, the website noted. The Norwegian aircraft had been upgraded to the F-16AM/BM configuration, which is broadly equivalent to the U.S. F-16 Block 50/52.
Breaking Defense reported on Dec. 7, 2021, that the U.S. Congress had give the Air Force approval to retire more than 160 aging aircraft as part of the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. Other than a prohibition on retiring A-10 attack jets, the service was being allowed to retire all of the legacy aircraft it requested, said a House aide. The list included 47 F-16C/D and 48 F-15C/D fighters; four E-8 JSTARS surveillance aircraft; 20 RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk drones; and 18 KC-135 and 10 KC-10 aerial tankers. The approval also removed a restriction on KC-10 withdrawals, making divestment of the type easier in the future, experts said. The withdrawal of 13 C-130Hs was also approved, some of which would be replaced by five new C-130Js. The NDAA still had to be passed by both houses and signed into law by President Biden.
On Dec. 13, 2021, AIN Online reported that the Romanian Ministry of National Defense had sought government approval to to buy 32 used F-16AM/BM fighters from Norway. The deal was estimated to be worth 454 million euros (US$514 million), of which 354 million euros (US$399 million) would go toward the aircraft, with the balance covering logistics support and equipment for upgrades. In 2019, the ministry sent letters of inquiry to NATO member states with F-16s for the availability of 16 to 32 aircraft for transfer. After a review, the Norwegian offer for 32 jets was determined to be the best. The Norwegian jets received the same midlife update as the ex-Portuguese F-16s already in Romanian service, but were more capable having received the M6.5.2 standard as opposed to the M5.2R, the publication said. This enables the former Norwegian aircraft to drop Laser JDAMs and launch the AIM-120D AMRAAM. The acquisition would enable Romania to retire its remaining MiG-21 fighters, noted Defense News.
The F-16 Block 70 made its first flight on Jan. 24, 2023, at Lockheed's Greenville, production site, the company said. The flight lasted about 50 minutes and covered airworthiness checks, including engine, flight-control and fuel system checks, as well as basic aircraft handling. The aircraft was the first of 16 being built for Bahrain. At the time, six countries had chosen the Block 70/72. In 2022, Jordan had signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for eight jets and the previous week had signed a follow-on agreement for another four, Lockheed said in a release. The company had also received a contract to begin long lead-time activities for the Jordanian aircraft. Bulgaria had also signed an LOA for another eight Block 70 jets.
Kongsberg announced on June 8, 2023, that it had received a contract worth more than US$65.2 million from the Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency (NDMA) to extend and expand a contract to prepare 32 F-16s for sale to Romania. The deal included technical assistance and support for the training of Romanian personnel. The jets would be returned to operational status and then maintained so that they are ready to return to service, officials said.
Agence France-Presse reported on June 9, 2023, that Norway had completed the sale of 32 F-16s to Romania after the U.S. had given approval. Oslo had withdrawn its F-16s from service in 2022. The aircraft would undergo maintenance prior to delivery, joining 17 F-16s Romania previously purchased from Portugal.
The War Zone website reported on June 26, 2023, that the Danish government was accelerating the retirement of its F-16AM/BM fighters. The last of the aircraft were expected to leave service in 2025, two years ahead of schedule. The government also said that it would consider whether to transfer some of the jets to Ukraine now that it had begun training Ukrainian pilots to operate the aircraft. At the time, the Danish air force had around 43 F-16AM/BMs in service, which were set to be replaced by stealthy F-35A fighters. Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and the U.K. had also announced their intention to help train Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16, the news site said.
On June 30, 2023, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that the U.S. State Dept. had approved a potential Foreign Military Sale for the modernization of 32 F-16 Midlife Update Block 10/15 fighters being procured by Romania from Norway. The possible US$105 million deal covered KY-58M and KIV-78 cryptographic devices; AN/PYQ-10C simple key loaders; Joint Mission Planning Systems; night-vision device (NVD) aviator vision systems and spare image-intensifier tubes; electronic warfare database support; Classified/Unclassified Computer Program Identification Number Systems (CPIN) and CPIN Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Program (ECISAP) equipment and support; and associated technical and logistics support. The proposed deal would enhance Romania's ability to meet current and future threats by strengthening its air and defense capabilities, the agency said.
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