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U.S. plans $2.8 billion upgrade of F-16 fighter
Reuters ^ | Feb 2, 2012 | Jim Wolf

Posted on 02/02/2012 8:37:23 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki

U.S. plans $2.8 billion upgrade of F-16 fighter

7:14pm EST

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 ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; f16; f35; usaf

1 posted on 02/02/2012 8:37:33 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

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??


2 posted on 02/02/2012 8:43:33 PM PST by varmintman
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To: sukhoi-30mki

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?


3 posted on 02/02/2012 8:45:44 PM PST by Rembrandt (.. AND the donkey you rode in on.)
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To: Rembrandt
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?


Some unmanned drone?
4 posted on 02/02/2012 8:50:37 PM PST by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: Rembrandt

The problem appears to be that the grandson is not yet ready.


5 posted on 02/02/2012 8:51:49 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: varmintman

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.


6 posted on 02/02/2012 8:53:30 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki
As long as these airframes are in good shape, this is a good move.

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.

7 posted on 02/02/2012 8:54:29 PM PST by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Isn’t the VTO version of the 35 supposed to have supercruise?


8 posted on 02/02/2012 8:59:41 PM PST by varmintman
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To: varmintman

Not that I know of and even if its existed, it’s heavier weight and design changes would nullify any advantage.


9 posted on 02/02/2012 9:04:23 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: varmintman
"Isn’t the VTO version of the 35 supposed to have supercruise?"

It sure does!


10 posted on 02/02/2012 9:08:09 PM PST by Dogbert41 ("...or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. " ....Jesus)
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To: varmintman

None of the F-35’s have “supercruise”. That is something that the F-22 has.


11 posted on 02/02/2012 9:13:01 PM PST by Tallguy (It's all 'Fun and Games' until somebody loses an eye!)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

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.


12 posted on 02/02/2012 9:18:20 PM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: Little Pig

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.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_6712/is_n49_v184/ai_n28643391/
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3126/is_n591_v50/ai_n28658544/


13 posted on 02/02/2012 9:29:01 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: Little Pig
F-16U concept
14 posted on 02/02/2012 9:29:43 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

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.


15 posted on 02/02/2012 9:42:51 PM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

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.


16 posted on 02/02/2012 11:01:27 PM PST by entropy12 (Socialism has failed everywhere tried. It breeds mediocrity, corruption, nepotism & poverty for all)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

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.


17 posted on 02/03/2012 5:00:10 AM PST by Carbonsteel
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To: Carbonsteel

I’m all for the upgrades to make “more awesome”. In recognition of yesterdays grammar post I chose not to use “more awesomer”.


18 posted on 02/03/2012 5:39:09 AM PST by mcshot (Voter fraud will be the doom of the Republic as desired by the Lib Dems.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

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?


19 posted on 02/03/2012 5:42:21 AM PST by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: Forward the Light Brigade

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.


20 posted on 02/03/2012 7:33:02 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
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To: Forward the Light Brigade
or Tornado fighters?

You most likely mean Typhoon fighters.

21 posted on 02/03/2012 9:27:40 AM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: entropy12

How would a drone be able to protect our troops from bad guys who ambush them “just across the road,” as I am sure has happened in Afganistan and Iraq. Unlike an A-10 pilot who could use his gun and pick out the bad guys across the road,I don’t see how a drone could accomplish this.


22 posted on 02/03/2012 9:36:24 AM PST by saminfl
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To: saminfl

To pick out those rag-tag insurgents, all you need is a vintage jet fighter, not a multi-million ultra sophisticated jet.

Again, if we had surplus budgets, I would be all for spending on military first. But I can not see the wisdom in borrowing from China to build unnecessary hardware.


23 posted on 02/03/2012 10:19:07 AM PST by entropy12 (Socialism has failed everywhere tried. It breeds mediocrity, corruption, nepotism & poverty for all)
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To: entropy12
I'm good with upgrading the Hoover, and the pictured U variant just looks very, very, bad ass.
But "unnecessary hardware" only holds until you need the hardware.
24 posted on 02/03/2012 2:03:30 PM PST by norton
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