U.S. State Department approves $3.8 billion F-16V and F-16V-upgrade sale to Bahrain
September 20, 2017
An F-16V unit. Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

U.S. State Department approves $3.8 billion F-16V and F-16V-upgrade sale to Bahrain

The U.S. State Department has approved a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) $2.79 billion U.S. sale for 19 new-built Lockheed Martin F-16V and a $1.08 billion F-16V upgrade set for 20 F-16C/D Block-40 to Bahrain.

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) outlines the major defence equipment of each proposed FMS deal (new-built F-16V and F-16V upgrade kits). Congress has 30 days to reject either or both.

Marquee components of the deal include, among others, AN/APG-83 active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radars, General Electric F-110-GE-129 engines, Improved Programmable Display Generators, Modular Mission Computers, Embedded Global Navigation Systems, AN/ALQ-211 AIDEWS self-protection and jamming suites and AN/APX-126 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) systems.

In addition, Bahrain also requested 25 AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods, six DB-110 Advanced Reconnaissance Systems, two AIM-9X air-to-air missiles (AAM), two AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM), and kits for small numbers of various other air-to-surface munitions, among them the GBU-24 Paveway III laser-guided bomb (LGB) and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).

The package also includes one Joint Mission Planning System, one F-16V simulator and captive training units (numbering between two and four) for the AIM-120C7, AGM-154 Joint Stand-off Weapon, MK-84/BLU-117, BLU-109 and AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile. Besides MDEs, both deals include training, maintenance support, spare parts, logistics support and other standard after-sale provisions.

President Trump’s administration has been pushing various proposed arms previously tabled by President Obama to the fore, particularly to countries with whom the previous administration expressed concerns over human rights, such as Bahrain. The White House approved the F-16 sale to Bahrain in March.

If finalized, this would be Lockheed Martin’s first new-built F-16V sale. This follows the company’s announcement in April to shift the F-16’s final assembly line from Fort Worth, Texas to Greenville in South Carolina. That month, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) formally approved a service life-extension program (SLEP) for its F-16 Block-40/42 and F-16 Block-50/52, lengthening airframe life from 8,000 hours to 12,000 hours.

The F-16V and SLEP have made Lockheed Martin optimistic about the potential F-16 upgrade market. In July 2016, the company expressed hope in upgrading 500 serving F-16s, of which it was already engaged in providing for 300 aircraft in South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

  • Steve

    Inconsequential tiny client countries getting advanced weapons as a sop to their American masters. Who will fly these hahaha. I heard a Western defence minister last month openly ridiculing in general Arab competency in Air Force training.

    The political price they are asking from us of becoming subservient to their designated regional policeman is too high. That is required plus denuclearisation before we are sold real arms. Pure technical discussions are irrelevant unless we are one dimensional engineers or non-thinking enthusiasts who get totally excited about a different hard point on a wing and don’t see the big picture. Buying American arms means buying into their polical and global designs. Our neighbours will find out to their chagrin soon.

    • Very true its beyon their competency and skilled level to maintain just a symbol of pride ,but paying a heavy price.

  • Shershahsuri

    Any chance PAF F-16s will get the V-upgrade and Aim-9x? will the SLEP programme be extended to Block-15s?

    • No word on the PAF upgrading their F-16s. No word on expanding SLEP to Block-15s.

      • jamshed_kharian_pak

        May be good news Sir

      • Steve

        I don’t know if the Air Force has approached LM for a country or block specific SLEP. We have a significant number of aircraft and could ask..

  • In reality the AMERICAN doors are almost closed for PAF during the TRUMP administration , as long as pakistan is not accepting AMERICAN guide line regarding INDIAN SUPEREMACY ,Hegemony and AMERICAN IDEALOGY regarding CHINA IN THE region , its better PAF should go ahead with jf17 programme and indigenous 5th generation fighter with chinese and turkish collaboration and to boost up and enhanced local R&D at emergency bases especially the AESA radar system to break the SHAKLES of AMERICAN sanctions and blackmailing.

  • Abdul Basit Iqbal

    My uncle used to serve in UAEAF. And according to him, almost on quarterly basis they witnessed student pilots (in Air Force Academy) landing there aircrafts without there landing gear deployed. Speaks volumes about there training and preparedness levels…

  • Aman

    We should try Jordan for F-16s eh?

    • Steve

      We could buy European F-16 being replaced with F-35 over the next few years.

      • MT

        Only if uncle Sam allows them to resale.

        • Steve

          They did not object to the Jordanian buy, so unlikely they will object. We can get the Turks to upgrade them.

          • MT

            Turks don’t produce anything significant for f16

            They buy kits from Lockheed martin

          • Steve

            Well they upgraded all our F-16 to MLU standard. Same thing.

  • jamshed_kharian_pak

    R&D must don on war footing, Armed Forces Of Islamic Republic Of Pakistan must create a home grown armament industry with state of the art latest technology

  • Steve

    This months AFM main article is about Nigerian Air Force. They mention JF-17 and Super Mushshak.

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