Skip to comments.U.S. plans $2.8 billion upgrade of F-16 fighter
Posted on 02/02/2012 8:37:23 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
U.S. plans $2.8 billion upgrade of F-16 fighter
By Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force said Thursday it plans a $2.8 billion upgrade of about 350 of its aging F-16 multi-role fighter planes to help offset slower purchases of the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The work, running into the 2020s, will extend the service life of select F-16 airframes. Other upgrades include advanced radar, sensors, cockpit display, electronic warfare and communications capabilities, the service said.
"We have worked through the implications of the delays in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program," Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told the Air Force Association earlier in the day. "And we have made a further commitment this year to modernize about 350 F-16s in the fleet going forward."
Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman, said the upgraded F-16s would receive active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. Northrop Grumman Corp and Raytheon Co build rival systems and are likely to compete for the work.
"Overall, the program will run into the 2020s and have an estimated total cost of $2.8 billion," Stefanek said in an emailed reply to queries from Reuters about Donley's remarks.
The Air Force will pick the "best of the fleet" to undergo the modernization for later-model Block 50 and some Block 40 F-16s, Stefanek said. The program is "scalable" based on the service's fighter needs, she added.
The Air Force has just over 1,000 F-16s in its current inventory, of which about 640 are Block 40/50s, distributed among active, Guard and Reserve components. None has yet undergone the structural "service life extension program" or capability upgrades now planned, the service said.
Lockheed Martin Corp builds both the F-16 and three versions of the radar-evading F-35, which is in low-rate initial production in a program co
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
The F-35 appears to work at this point in time. Is anybody saying anything about saving gigantic sums of money by not needing large carriers any more or about the force multiplier effect you could get by basing F-35s and ucavs on much smaller ships??
In this corner, we have Grandpa on steroids
In this corner, we have Grandson with 23 year old muscles and reflexes.
Any bets on who wins?
The problem appears to be that the grandson is not yet ready.
The costs of smaller ships are rising and you are not exactly saving a lot of money if you want to base F-35Bs which would have lower performance parameters than the conventional F-35.
Our air supremacy is so lopsided that if we were to build nothing but F-16s and F-15s and F-18s...instead of the F-35...for the next 10 years, we'd still have OVERWHELMING air supremacy.
Avionics and weapons and tactics mean so much more than airframes and engines it's not even funny.
Oh, and numbers.
We have numbers.
Isn’t the VTO version of the 35 supposed to have supercruise?
Not that I know of and even if its existed, it’s heavier weight and design changes would nullify any advantage.
It sure does!
None of the F-35’s have “supercruise”. That is something that the F-22 has.
I’ve felt for a long time that the F-16 could be a good candidate for an upgrade to vectored thrust. So much of the engine nozzle extends past the airframe that you could build the vectoring servos into the engine package, so no airframe modifications would be necessary, and all you’d need is the extra wiring for linking to the flight computers.
Like many concepts, the F-16 has been tested with a TVN though it was not implemented. In fact, I remember Lockheed Martin mentioned TV as one option for future F-16 upgrades on their official product webpage until 2-3 years ago. That’s obviously been removed since it would have been competing with their own product, the F-35.
LM most likely didn’t work on an advanced F-16 derivative (the F-16U) for that reason. That variant was initially offered to the UAE and would have included among other things, a new F-22 style wing, massive fuel capacity and possibly TVN. If it would have been built it would have buried most competition barring the maritime requirements.
That’s a pretty badass-looking fighter. Pity no one is actively looking to build it. I guess a proven airframe, with all the logistics already in place for support, and pilots with decades of flight-time already available for development and training, all make too much sense to implement.
Drones are much cheaper and MORE EFFECTIVE in fighting against people causing the most trouble now a days. Cold war is long over (thank you president Reagan) and no country is interested in nuking US into oblivion, least of which is China since they depend on us as their most important export market. UK, France, India are democracies. Pakistan is a concern but our $10 Billion bribe every year will keep them from launching nuclear attack.
That looks a little like the old F-16XL concept.
In any case, the F-16 is still a formidable platform and upgrades are good by me.
In fact, since the F-16 and F-15 lines are still active, lets just build those planes in bulk since we seem incapable of building anything new without breaking the bank.
I’m all for the upgrades to make “more awesome”. In recognition of yesterdays grammar post I chose not to use “more awesomer”.
F-16 was a good plane but can we fight a nation with Su35s? or Tornado fighters? we can fight a 3rd world nation but can we hold out against a first class nation state? I read in a war game with the Spanish Air Force—the US fleet lost to Spanish tornado fighters. The Spanish! What if we were up against the German Luftwaffe?
Spain does not operate Tornadoes; I think you would be referring to the Eurofighter and that’s not surprising since it’s a newer and more agile design. The Tornado by itself is just about average as a fighter and is no match for the F-16’s agility.
The F-16 is not the USAF’s first choice air defense fighter and even if it were, the USAF fights a significantly different battle-well networked, stand-off engagements, than most other militaries. So the SU-35 and it’s ilk don’t have a cakewalk and besides there are only a handful of SU-35s around. Keeping the F-16 around for long is not ideal but it’s not yet past its sell-by date.