The newest configuration of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-16V, reached a major capability milestone with the integration of a new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. Taiwan is to be first customer for the F-16 variant.
The F-16V (with V derived from ‘Viper’, popular nickname for the F-16) was unveiled in 2012 at the Singapore airshow. The F-16V configuration is an option for new production jets and elements of the upgrade are available to most earlier-model F-16s, according to Lockheed Martinin during that occasion. The company also said the F-16V ‘will satisfy customers’ emerging requirements and prepare them to better interoperate with the 5th generation fighters, the F-35 and F-22.’
The completion of the AESA radar Critical Design Review ensures Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) design meets all specified U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin requirements. Lockheed Martin will continue with follow-on activities such as development integration and ground and flight test for Taiwan’s fleet of 144 Block 20 F-16A/B fighter jets. With the upgrade to the new SABR and enhancements to the mission computer, vehicle systems, aircraft structure, cockpit and electronic warfare system, Taiwan moves forward as the launch customer for the new F-16V configuration.
More than 4,550 F-16 aircraft have been delivered to date, and production is expected to continue through 2017, with major upgrades being incorporated for all F-16 versions.
Source: Lockheed Martin