F-16 SLEP 2017

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neptune

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Unread post21 Nov 2017, 19:02

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ti-443521/

USAF releases F-16 service life extension solicitation

21 November, 2017
BY: Leigh Giangreco

Washington DC
The US Air Force has released a request for proposals for a contract to beef up the structures on a subset of the Lockheed Martin F-16 fleet to keep the single-engine fighter in service for at least 30 more years. In April, the USAF authorized a plan to extend the F-16C/D model’s service life from its original 8,000 flight hours to 12,000 flight hours. A June notice increased that extension to 13,856 equivalent flight hours. The SLEP would keep up to 300 Block 40 through Block 52 F-16s flying beyond 2048, with an option to extend the requirement to 489 F-16s. The contract has a $403 million ceiling, according to the 20 November RFP. The USAF intends to start procuring structural modification kits in 2018, which will also be available to foreign military sales customers, the notice states. Though original F-16 manufacturer Lockheed celebrated the approval of the SLEP program in an April press release, the recent RFP shows the authorized plan does not guarantee a Lockheed contract. Boeing, for example, has gained experience with the F-16's systems and structure after receiving a contract to convert retired fighters into target drones.
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Unread post21 Nov 2017, 19:20

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... 16-fighter

U.S. Air Force Certifies Structural Modifications of F-16 Fighter

by Bill Carey
April 19, 2017

The U.S. Air Force has validated that F-16 Block 40-52 fighters could safely fly 4,000 hours beyond their design service lives with planned structural modifications. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin announced the military flight release (MFR) authorization earlier this month, weeks after confirming that it will relocate F-16 production from Fort Worth, Texas, to Greenville, S.C. The MFR from the Air Force’s Technical Airworthiness Authority authorizes F-16 Block 40-52 flight operations to 12,000 hours from the current design limit of 8,000 hours, Lockheed Martin announced on April 12. The formal airworthiness assessment takes into account structural modifications of a proposed service life extension program (SLEP) that would keep F-16s flying into the 2040s if the Air Force decides to fund the effort. The manufacturer has set a notional SLEP goal of 300 F-16C/D Block 40-52 aircraft. Lockheed Martin said it also plans to seek a military type certificate to validate the F-16’s service life beyond 12,000 hours using data from extended durability testing. The SLEP covers structural modifications and does not include modernization programs such as the F-16V upgrade planned for South Korean and Taiwanese fighters, incorporating Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 active electronically scanned array fire-control radar, an Elbit Systems of America 6-by-8 center pedestal display and an upgraded mission computer.

The U.S. Air Force planned a similar upgrade of 300 F-16s under the Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite (Capes) program, which was cancelled in 2014 over budget constraints. “Combined with F-16 avionics modernization programs like the F-16V, SLEP modifications demonstrate that the Fighting Falcon remains a highly capable and affordable fourth generation option for the U.S. Air Force and international F-16 customers,” Lockheed Martin asserted. “Structural modifications enable the F-16 to fly well into the future; avionics and capability upgrades ensure that it can fight when it gets there.” In late March, Lockheed Martin confirmed to Defense One and other media that it will relocate F-16 production from Fort Worth to Greenville over the next two years, freeing space in the former facility as it ramps up production of the F-35 Lightning II. The manufacturer has production contracts from foreign military sales customers to continue deliveries from Fort Worth through late this year, but it declined to specify its F-16 backlog. The U.S. State Department recently informed Congress that it supports selling 19 F-16s to Bahrain without demanding the country improve its human rights record—a precondition of the previous Obama administration, Bloomberg reported March 29.
Responding to an AIN inquiry, Lockheed Martin said it expects to create between 200 and 250 new jobs in Greenville, depending on contract requirements. The manufacturer already has facilities there it has used to assemble and test the T-50A jet it proposes for the U.S. Air Force’s 350-aircraft advanced jet trainer program. “The existing infrastructure in Greenville can support emerging F-16 production requirements. At this time, we are not planning to expand any facilities in Greenville for F-16 production,” Lockheed Martin said.
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Unread post21 Nov 2017, 19:24

http://www.janes.com/article/71414/usaf ... rame-hours

USAF increases scope of F-16 SLEP to include more aircraft and airframe hours

Gareth Jennings
14 June 2017

London
The US Air Force (USAF) is to increase the number of aircraft and additional airframe hours to be included in a planned service-life extension program (SLEP) of its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft. While the service had previously stated that up to 300 of the service's 1,017 Block 40/42 and 50/52 C- and D-model aircraft would see their airframe hours increased from the current 8,000 hours to 12,000 hours (an increase equivalent to about eight years of operational flying), a notice posted by the service on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website on 12 June says that these numbers are now to grow to 841 aircraft and 13,856 hours. "The F-16 USAF SLEP intends to extend the aircraft's current structural service life from 8,000 equivalent flight hours (EFH) up to 13,856 EFH by modifying and/or repairing life limiting, fractural critical, and safety of flight critical structure. This effort seeks to award a contract to a vendor who can manufacture and/or procure, assemble, and deliver up to the estimated maximum quantity of 841 F-16 Block 40-52, C/D-Model SLEP modification kits necessary to extend the structural service life of these aircraft, in accordance with Government standards and specifications defined in the Technical Data Package (TDP)," the notice said.
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Unread post21 Nov 2017, 19:39

http://www.janes.com/article/69515/usaf ... -extension

USAF approves F-16 airframe life extension

Gareth Jennings,
12 April 2017


London
The US Air Force (USAF) has authorized Lockheed Martin to extend the service life of the F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft as part of a wider service-life extension program (SLEP) of its Block 40 to 52 fleet. The authorization, which was announced by the manufacturer on 12 April, comes after static fatigue testing and will see the airframe cleared to 12,000 hours from its current 8,000 hours (an increase equivalent to about eight years of operational flying)."This accomplishment is the result of more than seven years of test, development, design, analysis, and partnership between the US Air Force and Lockheed Martin," the vice-president of Lockheed Martin's F-16 program, Susan Ouzts, was quoted as saying.

The USAF issued a request for information (RFI) on an F-16 SLEP effort in January 2016, as it sought to determine the level of industry support for a SLEP for up to 300 of the service's 1,017 Block 40/42 and 50/52 C- and D-model aircraft to see them out to 2048 and beyond. As noted by Lockheed Martin, a second phase (Part II) of the F-16 SLEP airworthiness process continues with the request for Military Type Certificate (MTC), which will be submitted to the USAF's Technical Airworthiness Authority in the coming months. Part II seeks to validate further extending the F-16's operational life based on final service life analysis from extended durability testing. A SLEP contract award is expected in the third quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2018, with low-rate initial production of the kits beginning at the same time. Full-rate kit production will start in the fourth quarter of FY 2019, with installation beginning in the fourth quarter of FY 2020 and running through to the end of FY 2021. While the SLEP is geared chiefly at increasing the F-16's service life, the fleet is also receiving new ground collision avoidance systems (some 26% of F-16 aircraft losses and 75% of F-16-related fatalities are caused by 'controlled flight into terrain'), and 136 aircraft are slated for a wing overhaul program.
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 05:44

Are the older block 15/20/30s structurally similar enough for this sort of life extension as well?
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 06:58

They could be upgraded in a similar way, but not by using the same upgrade parts. Block 40 was completely redesigned structurally to account for weight growth through Block 30 and to accommodate the Lantirn pod. Even if they could be upgraded structurally, they would still need to have many avionic system upgrades and cockpit upgrades. Doubtful it would be worth the cost.
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Unread post08 Mar 2018, 12:59

The SLEP is all well and good, but without upgraded systems there won't be too much point
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Unread post09 Mar 2018, 03:32

Depends. The USAF has a pretty good idea how squadrons of F-35As they are going to get. The last they want is to have to retrain a whole new set of pilots. The point of the SLEP-ing 300 (and not the whole fleet) may just be to keep the remaining squadrons flying until the F-35As can fully replace the aircraft. F-35A procurement will take to 2044 which is up to 26 years out. SLEP-ing them out to 2048 provides a bit of buffer in case of anymore procurement reduction.

Edited: based on SAR.
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Unread post09 Mar 2018, 05:15

fair enough weasel, but I think getting a RACR or SABR would nearly pay for itself in 25 years of reduced maintenance, to say nothing of increased operational capacity.
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Unread post09 Mar 2018, 06:11

I'd think the first they'd do which they probably have done is to improve the datalinks to talk to the MADL. That way, get the same pic as the accompanying F-35s. The F-16s will probably be relegated to secondary attack roles. The existing radar can do the job.

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