F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Roll out of first Portuguese MLU

June 27, 2003 (by Ricardo Nunes) - The first Portuguese Air Force F-16 MLU took off from OGMA facilities, in Alverca, on June 26th in a ceremony attended by the Portuguese prime minister, José M. Durão Barroso.

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F-16AM (15133/#82-1017) was the first of 20 airframes that will be upgraded by the OGMA (Oficinas Gerais de Material Aeronautico) under the Peace Atlantis II program. This program is following 1994's Peace Atlantis I in which Portugal acquired 20 new F-16A/Bs. With those fighters also entering MLU improvements, the new and older F-16 groups will have congruent capabilities. Total value of the Peace Atlantis II program is approximately $268 million, which includes aircraft shipment, modification kits, logistics support and training.

The refurbished Peace Atlantis II F-16s received three major modifications: the Falcon UP/Falcon STAR structural upgrades, the F100-PW-220E engine upgrade and the F-16A/B MLU avionics and cockpit upgrade. The MLU changes include block 50 F-16C/D-style cockpit with color multifunction displays, modular mission computer, APG-66(V)2 radar update, digital terrain system, global positioning system, advanced identification friend or foe, improved data modem data link, electronic warfare management system, plus provisions for a reconnaissance pod and a helmet-mounted display.

Other upgrades to the Portuguese aircraft include a night identification light, dedicated electronic warfare MUX bus, additional chaff/flare dispensers, plus provisions for an internal missile warning system and a flight analyzer/air combat evaluation/voice and data recorder.

Lockheed Martin performed training and set-up functions for the program, but all modifications are being performed in Portugal at OGMA.

Portugal is the fifth country to incorporate the F-16A/B MLU modification.

After the Peace Atlantis II F-16's are updated, all the Fighting Falcons on service with the 201 sq. at Monte Real will also be modified.