Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Taiwan begin upgrade of F-16A/B to F-16V configuration


Taiwan begins F-16V modernisation effort


Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

17 January 2017

Taiwan has begun the process of upgrading its Lockheed Martin F-16 fighting Falcon combat aircraft to the latest F-16V configuration, with the first jets arriving at the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) facility in Taichung, it was reported on 17 January.

The first four of the Republic of China Air Force's (RoCAF's) F-16A/Bs to be retrofitted were flown to the facility in the northwest of the island the day before the disclosure of the commencement of the project, which was made by national media.

Lockheed Martin had not responded to an IHS Jane's request for conformation and additional details at the time of writing.

First unveiled at the Singapore Airshow in 2012, the F-16V features the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar (also known as the Scalable Agile Beam Radar [SABR] and derived from the F-16E/F Block 60 AN/APG-80); a new Raytheon mission computer; the Link 16 datalink; modern cockpit displays; an enhanced electronic warfare system; and a ground collision avoidance system.

The F-16 original equipment manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, was awarded USD272 million to install 142 F-16V aircraft upgrade kits that had already been contracted at a cost of USD1.85 billion. In May 2016 it was reported that AIDC was building a hangar at Taichung that could accommodate up to 24 aircraft per year going through the process. Work will be performed in Taiwan and in the United States, and is expected to be complete by 31 May 2022.

Original post: janes.com


Inventory

Peace Fenghuang

In November 1992, representatives of Taiwan and the United States signed an agreement for the sale of 150 F-16A/B aircraft (120 A-models and 30 B-models) to Taiwan under the Peace Fenghuang Foreign Military Sales program. This large order (which coincided with an order for 60 Mirage 2000-5 aircraft, as well as a planned production run of 130 IDF (Indigenous Defensive Fighter) aircraft was meant to replace Taiwan's aging fleet of F-104 and F-5E aircraft. The air force inventory modernization program fits in a general military modernization program, spurred by China's move to upgrade its military hardware.

The F-16s are F-16 block 15OCU's built to MLU specifications (but designated F-16 Block 20 however). By the start of 1997, 5 aircraft had already been built and were formally handed over to Taiwan. Total cost of the deal is supposedly USD $6 billion.

Twenty F-16A/B Block 20 aircraft are based in te US for testing and training purposes: 18 at Luke AFB as the 21st FS Gamblers, and 2 others (1 F-16A and 1 F-16B) were initially sent to the 416th FLTS at Edwards AFB for the Block 20 flight tests and MMC software tests. Later the 2 were sent to Fort Worth for follow up software tests and upgrades. As of 2006, 14 aircraft remain at Luke with also the 2 Edwards vipers still present.

Modifications & Armament

Modifications

The Block 20's have the improved Westinghouse AN/APG-66(V) 3 fire-control radar (157 ordered), AN/APX-111 IFF, ALR-56M advanced radar warning receivers, and the AN/ALE-47 chaff/flare dispensers.

The cockpit is similar to that of block 50 aircraft, with night vision goggle compatibility, modular mission computer, GPS, Honeywell LCD color displays, and wide-angle HUDs. All ROCAF F-16s are powered by F100-PW-220 turbofan engines. It is worth noting that these F-16s will retain their in-flight refueling capabilities.

Armament & Stores

RoCAF F-16s are equipped with AIM-7M Sparrow, AIM-9M & P4 Sidewinder and AGM-65 Maverick missiles. Recently a batch of 120 AIM-120C-5 and also 54 AGM-84 Harpoon missiles were purchased from the USA to complement the existing weapons stock.

Instead of Westinghouse AN/ALQ-131 ECM pods, Taiwan chose the Raytheon AN/ALQ-184(V)7 ECM pods (80 ordered). The contract which includes 80 pods, plus support equipment and spares, represents the first foreign sale of the AN/ALQ-184, and is worth over $100 million.

There has been a long standing dispute with the US over various modifications to the F-16 such as integrating the local TC2 BVR missile and HF2 anti shipping missile. So far, the US has not allowed any modifications to be made.

Some F-16s have been equipped with the AN/VDS-5 reconnaissance pod.

In later years a number of new weapons were acquired and older ones upgraded. In 2003 a complementary batch of 182 AIM-9M-2 missiles were ordered. In 2007 an additional order for 218 AIM-120C-7 was placed together with 235 AGM-65G. Not much later being followed by an order for 60 AGM-84L missiles and an upgrade package to upgrade the existing stock of Harpoons from the AGM-84G to L-standards.


Program
Model
Block
Qty.
Serials
Delivered
Peace Fenghuang
F-16A
Block 20
120
6601/6720
1997-2001
F-16B
Block 20
30
6801/6830
1997-2001

Source f-16net

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F-16V Fighter – Upgrade: Details

F-16 Fighting Falcon: Details