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C4iSR: Air

Lockheed Martin reports growing demand for F-16 thanks to new upgrades and variant

14 February 2019
Artist’s illustration of the Lockheed Martin F-16V Block 70 variant for Bahrain. A company official said demand for the F-16 is accelerating around the world due to new production models and upgrades. Source: Lockheed Martin

Key Points

  • Lockheed Martin has reported growing demand for F-16 aircraft
  • The company has rolled out new block upgrades and a F-16V variant

The demand for F-16 Fighting Falcons is accelerating around the world due to new production models and upgrades, according to a company official.

Victor Torla, Lockheed Martin rotary and mission systems business development director, told Jane's in a February interview that the company found new customers for the F-16 platform with the block 60 and 70 upgrades as well as the F-16V configuration. He said these new customers come from countries that previously flew older variants of the aircraft such as Romania and Jordan as well as new customers looking at the Block 70 upgrades. Lockheed Martin has also received interest from the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

The Block 70 upgrades include improved radar systems, advanced weapons capabilities, and enhanced battlespace awareness. These include a new Northrop Grumman APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with a new avionics architecture and structural upgrades to extend airframe life.

A new Center Pedestal Display (CPD) on the Block 70 provides critical tactical imagery to pilots on a high-resolution 300 cm 2 screen. Bahrain and Slovakia recently became Lockheed Martin's first Block 70 customers. Parsley said the United States and Bulgaria are currently negotiating Bulgaria's planned acquisition of new Block 70 aircraft.

The Block 60 upgrades feature a Northrop Grumman AN/APG-80 agile beam radar with AESA antenna, a new core avionics suite based on an advanced mission computer utilising commercial hardware and software, and a digital fuel system. The Block 60 was designed for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

F-16V upgrades include a Link 16 theatre datalink, the Sniper advanced targeting pod (ATP), advanced weapons, precision Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation and the Auto Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS).

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