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USAF seeks to expand F-16 life-extension program
October 18, 2017
Photo credit: Turkish Aerospace Industries

USAF seeks to expand F-16 life-extension program

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is looking to build upon its forthcoming service-life extension plan (SLEP) for its Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block-40/42 and Block-50/52 fighters from 4,000 to 5,856 additional hours.

The Air Force greenlit the F-16 SLEP program in April with the aim of keeping its F-16 Block-40/42/50/52 fleet in service until 2048 by extending the fighter’s airframe life from 8,000 hours to 12,000 hours.

However, in its posting to the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website on June 12, the Air Force increased both the hours required from the SLEP as well as the number of F-16s from 300 to 841.

Notes & Comments:

Originally, the Air Force had intended to put its F-16s through a comprehensive upgrade – i.e. the Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite (CAPES) – involving upgraded avionics and an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar. However, it stepped away from the CAPES in 2015.

Interestingly, at the beginning of June the U.S. Air National Guard (ANG) selected Northrop Grumman to upgrade 72 of its F-16s with the AN/APG-83 AESA radar. It is not clear if USAF F-16s will undergo an AESA radar upgrade, but the expansion of the SLEP and the ANG’s upgrade program show that conditions (e.g. industry participation, airframe life extension, etc) are being made to make the upgrade route possible.

In terms of international use, the vice president of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 program Susan Ouzts said in April: “Combined with F-16 avionics modernization programs like the F-16V [and] SLEP modifications demonstrate that the [F-16] remains a highly capable and affordable 4th Generation option for [the USAF] and international F-16 customers.”

Lockheed Martin is already in the process of upgrading 300 F-16s overseas (for South Korea and Taiwan) under the F-16V program, the central element of which is the AN/APG-83 AESA radar. The company hopes to acquire another 500 upgrade orders, with Bahrain, Greece and Egypt pegged as possible markets.

Lockheed Martin’s market prospects could grow substantially if it is able to develop a SLEP for F-16 Block-25 and Block-30/32 stored at the Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC). These fighters are available at low-cost, and an upgrade program involving SLEP and AN/APG-83 would transform them into viable entry-level and/or stop-gap solutions for many air forces.

  • bill

    Sir what are the chances that V or SLEP may be offered to Pak after induction of Rafael by IAF.

    • Shaheer Anjum

      Irrespective of the availability of the v or slep upgrade, it’s high time we move forward and away from the f16 as a platform. Let’s not forget this upgrade is essentially to bring the block 40 onwards iterations to block 70 standard, and LM just inked a deal with TATA to make block 70 f16s in India.

      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/lockheed-martin-signs-pact-with-tata-to-make-f-16-planes-in-india/articleshow/59219572.cms

      • Saptarshi Dasgupta

        Shaheer bhai even though TATA inked a deal with Lockheed IAF might go for gripen e , saab would tie up with Reliance and Adani groups which are closer to Modi . With both Modi and Air Force vying for Gripen E , f-16 deal might not see light. Only request from Donald Trump and assurance of technology transfer of critical tech like AESA and turbofan and a much low price offer can win the deal for f-16 . IAF as of now is fascinated with Eurocanards

    • Steve

      Unless we can influence Congress the chances are quite poor, irrespective of regional inductions. The executive branch can possibly be influenced by Af peace process, but the legislative branch is diverse and can only be influenced by a long and major effort involving Pakistani Americans, and nimble political footwork by our government. Can’t see it happening soon with the current (Panama) lot.

  • Jack

    Lockheed Martin and Tata advanced have signed a deal to produce f 16s in India.

    We need to be extremely proactive and buy minimum 50 j 16 or j 11 airframes from china by taking Russia in confidence then upgrade and cutomize with our choice.

    If America doesn’t want supply us any more f16s and give them to India only then to hell with them.

    Best alternate to f16 is sign another agreement to buy enough j10s 40 to 50 minimum from china to complement our existing f16s.

    Furthermore sign 2 agreement, one with turkey to co produce TFX 5th gen fighter in Pakistan and another one with china to co produce j 31 in Pakistan.

    Best option is make Jf 17 block 4 at home – a complete 5th gen platform

    Future of PAF:

    1. Existing upgraded 74 F 16 with additional 50 j10s: 124
    2. JF 17 Block 3 (all upgraded to block 3): 250
    3. JF 17 Block 4 – 5th generation: 50
    4. J 11/J 16: 50
    5. Turkish TFX : 36 initially / 100 afterward – to replace f 16 in long term future
    6. FC 31 – 36 initially / 70 to be procured in future

    Future of PN air arm:

    JF 17 Block 3/4: 50
    J 11/J 16: 24

    Total advance Fighter Aircraft strength by 2030 = 750

  • Jack

    Lockheed Martin and Tata advanced have signed a deal to produce f 16s in India.

    We need to be extremely proactive and buy minimum 50 j 16 or j 11 airframes from china by taking Russia in confidence then upgrade and cutomize with our choice.

    If America doesn’t want supply us any more f16s and give them India only then to hell with them.

    Best alternate to f16 is sign another agreement to buy enough j10s 40 to 50 minimum from china to complement our existing f16s.

    Furthermore sign 2 agreement, one with turkey to co produce TFX 5th gen fighter in Pakistan and another one with china to co produce j 31 in Pakistan.

    Best option is make Jf 17 block 4 at home – a complete 5th gen platform

    Future of PAF:

    1. Existing upgraded 74 F 16 with additional 50 j10s: 124
    2. JF 17 Block 3 (all upgraded to block 3): 250
    3. JF 17 Block 4 – 5th generation: 50
    4. J 11/J 16: 50
    5. Turkish TFX : 36 initially / 100 afterward – to replace f 16 in long term future
    6. FC 31 – 36 initially / 70 to be procured in future

    Future of PN air arm:

    JF 17 Block 3/4: 50
    J 11/J 16: 24

    Total advance Fighter Aircraft strength by 2030 = 750

    Lockheed Martin and Tata advanced have signed a deal to produce f 16s in India.

    We need to be extremely proactive and buy minimum 50 j 16 or j 11 airframes from china by taking Russia in confidence then upgrade and cutomize with our choice.

    If America doesn’t want supply us any more f16s and give them India only then to hellll with them.

    Best alternate to f16 is sign another agreement to buy enough j10s 40 to 50 minimum from china to complement our existing f16s.

    Furthermore sign 2 agreement, one with turkey to co produce TFX 5th gen fighter in Pakistan and another one with china to co produce j 31 in Pakistan.

    Best option is make Jf 17 block 4 at home – a complete 5th gen platform

    Future of PAF:

    1. Existing upgraded 74 F 16 with additional 50 j10s: 124
    2. JF 17 Block 3 (all upgraded to block 3): 250
    3. JF 17 Block 4 – 5th generation: 50
    4. J 11/J 16: 50
    5. Turkish TFX : 36 initially / 100 afterward – to replace f 16 in long term future
    6. FC 31 – 36 initially / 70 to be procured in future

    Future of PN air arm:

    JF 17 Block 3/4: 50
    J 11/J 16: 24

    Total advance Fighter Aircraft strength by 2030 = 750

  • Jack

    Lockheed Martin and Tata advanced have signed a deal to produce f 16s in India.

    We need to be extremely proactive and buy minimum 50 j 16 or j 11 airframes from china by taking Russia in confidence then upgrade and cutomize with our choice.

    If America doesn’t want supply us any more f16s and give them India only then to hell with them.

    Best alternate to f16 is sign another agreement to buy enough j10s 40 to 50 minimum from china to complement our existing f16s.

    Furthermore sign 2 agreement, one with turkey to co produce TFX 5th gen fighter in Pakistan and another one with china to co produce j 31 in Pakistan.

    Best option is make Jf 17 block 4 at home – a complete 5th gen platform

    Future of PAF:

    1. Existing upgraded 74 F 16 with additional 50 j10s: 124
    2. JF 17 Block 3 (all upgraded to block 3): 250
    3. JF 17 Block 4 – 5th generation: 50
    4. J 11/J 16: 50
    5. Turkish TFX : 36 initially / 100 afterward – to replace f 16 in long term future
    6. FC 31 – 36 initially / 70 to be procured in future

    Future of PN air arm:

    JF 17 Block 3/4: 50
    J 11/J 16: 24

    Total advance Fighter Aircraft strength by 2030 = 750

    Lockheed Martin and Tata advanced have signed a deal to produce f 16s in India.

    We need to be extremely proactive and buy minimum 50 j 16 or j 11 airframes from china by taking Russia in confidence then upgrade and cutomize with our choice.

    IAmerica doesn’t want supply us any more f16s and wants give them to India only

    Best alternate to f16 is sign another agreement to buy enough j10s 40 to 50 minimum from china to complement our existing f16s.

    Furthermore sign 2 agreement, one with turkey to co produce TFX 5th gen fighter in Pakistan and another one with china to co produce j 31 in Pakistan.

    Best option is make Jf 17 block 4 at home – a complete 5th gen platform

    Future of PAF:

    1. Existing upgraded 74 F 16 with additional 50 j10s: 124
    2. JF 17 Block 3 (all upgraded to block 3): 250
    3. JF 17 Block 4 – 5th generation: 50
    4. J 11/J 16: 50
    5. Turkish TFX : 36 initially / 100 afterward – to replace f 16 in long term future
    6. FC 31 – 36 initially / 70 to be procured in future

    Future of PN air arm:

    JF 17 Block 3/4: 50
    J 11/J 16: 24

    Total advance Fighter Aircraft strength by 2030 = 750

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