May 12, 2009 (by Asif Shamim) - Flightglobal reports that the Israeli air force plans to upgrade its F-16C/D aircraft to the 'Barak 2020' upgrade package so this portion of fleet can serve till 2020.
Upgrades will give almost the same level of avionics equipment as that of the latest F-16I block 52
+ Soufa ("Storm") in service.
The modernization comes after a long test period with the new upgrade suite being installed on a test F-16D Brakeet ("Thunderbolt"), which was operated to the extremes.
IDFAF officials say the upgrades will boost interoperability and facilitate integration of new weapons packages between its fleet of approximately 124 F-16C/D's and 101 F-16I's.
Under Peace Marble II, the IDFAF was supplied with 75 late-model F-16C/D's (block 30
), the first F-16C of which arrived in October 1987 and the first F-16D was received on December 21, 1987.
Following the cancellation of the indigenous Lavi fighter project in May of 1988, a follow-on order was placed under Peace Marble III agreement for 60 F-16C/D block 40
aircraft (30 F-16C's, 30 F-16D's), plus an option for another 15 aircraft. The first of these jets arriving back in August 1991.