Air Force authorises extended life for F-16

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Unread post13 Apr 2017, 02:21 ... 16-436186/

Air Force authorises extended life for F-16

12 April, 2017
BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

The F-16 Falcon will live to fight another day, or at least another 4,000 hours, according to the US Air Force and Lockheed Martin. The USAF authorized extending the F-16’s service life from its original 8,000 flight hours to 12,000 flight hours, a 12 April Lockheed release states. After performing SLEP modifications, the service will be able to operate the Block 40 through 52 aircraft beyond 2048, according to Lockheed. The authorization marks a milestone within the USAF’s seven-year SLEP, according to Susan Ouzts, vice president of Lockheed Martin's F-16 program. "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 US Air Force and international F-16 customers.”

Lockheed unveiled its F-16V modernization plan at the 2016 Farnborough air show. The upgrade to existing Falcons leverages technology from Lockheed’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, such as Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar. The program could also integrate additional capabilities down the road, including auto ground collision avoidance and a joint helmet-mounted cueing system. Three international customers are participating in the F-16V upgrade, including Taiwan, which had plans to participate in a joint upgrade effort with the US known as combat avionics programmed extension suite (CAPES). In 2015, the USAF abandoned CAPES, but kept funding for mission and display computer replacements. Lockheed plans to extend the service life of 300 F-16C/D Block 40 through 52 aircraft. Meanwhile, the company is pursuing a part two of the SLEP that would allow further life extension based on final service life analysis from extended durability testing, Lockheed states.
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Unread post03 May 2019, 04:19

Lockheed Targets 9-Month F-16 Modification Schedule ... n-schedule

A six-year-old service life extension program (SLEP) for Lockheed Martin F-16s is transitioning from the proof-kit stage to the full production phase at the government depot at Hill AFB, Utah, a company official said on April 24.

The U.S. Air Force plans to extend the service life of 300 F-16s to keep the fleet active through 2046. In 2013, the Air Force launched the SLEP program by assigning Lockheed to perform a full-scale fatigue test of an F-16 Block 50 with 1,834 effective flight hours. Lockheed’s engineers spent the next two years applying loads that simulated the effective of 27,712 effective flight hours, Crowley said.

The fatigue testing caused more than 200 structural cracks throughout the aircraft, which resulted in 39 recommended modifications for the F-16, Crowley said. Sensing that the initial proposal was too costly, Lockheed developed a process to scrub recommendations that reflected “requirements creep,” he added. The final modification package was whittled down to 12 structural replacements, the lower bulkhead where the main landing gear meets the wing, canopy sill longerons and a bulkhead that supports the vertical tail. The inner and outer support beams for the horizontal tails are also being replaced, Crowley said.

The roughly $3 million per aircraft for each SLEP extends service life by 73%, Crowley said

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