RoKAF to upgrade KF-16s with new IFF, datalink

by Gareth Jennings

South Korea is to integrate advanced identification friend or foe (IFF) and datalink systems onto its Lockheed Martin KF-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft as part of a wider upgrade of the type.

The RoKAF is looking to equip its KF-16s with new identification friend or foe (IFF) and datalink systems as part of a wider upgrade. (US Air Force)

The RoKAF is looking to equip its KF-16s with new identification friend or foe (IFF) and datalink systems as part of a wider upgrade. (US Air Force)

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 30 March that the State Department had approved the sale of Mode 5 IFF and Link 16 Tactical Datalink (TDL) systems to the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) for fitting aboard its F-16 Block 32 aircraft.

Including associated equipment, training, support, and other services, the total estimated cost of the sale is USD194 million.

“The proposed sale will improve the Republic of Korea's capability to meet current and future threats by increasing its interoperability with US Air Force and other coalition forces through an improved datalink and Mode 5 IFF, producing a more effective alliance for its F-16 fleet. The Republic of Korea will have no difficulty in absorbing this upgrade into its armed forces,” the DSCA said in its approval notification.

The IFF and datalink enhancements are part of a wider upgrade programme being rolled out onto 134 of the RoKAF’s 70-strong KF-16 fleet. This includes integration of a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, improvements to the BAE Systems’ radar-warning receiver, the latest Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System II (JHMCS II) helmet-mounted display, and other items. The entire process is expected to be complete by 15 November 2025.

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South Korea is to integrate advanced identification friend or foe (IFF) and datalink systems onto it...

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