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First F-16 block 60s to UAE in May

February 10, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The UAE will take delivery of a first batch of the highly sophisticated multi-role block 60 F-16s in May this year, the UAE Air Force Commander disclosed in an interview on the occasion of IDEX 2005.

UAEAF F-16F block 60 #3008 in Arizona. The aircraft is used to train the new pilots within the Arizona ANG. [USAF photo]

First announced in May 1998, the estimated $6.4 billion deal calls for delivery of 80 F-16E/F aircraft to the UAE starting from the end of 2004 through 2007.

The $8.6 billion package, which involves the purchase of 80 F-16s, includes delivery, training, construction of air bases and other related facilities, spare parts and maintenance.

The block 60 configuration is the most extensive change in the history of the F-16 program. The unique features of the Block 60 version include the APG-80 multimode radar with active electronically scanned antenna, internalized forward-looking infrared navigation and targeting system, advanced cockpit (three large multifunction displays, picture-in-picture, enhanced automation), fiber-optic avionics data bus, commercial off-the-shelf processors, Falcon Edge internal electronic countermeasures system and the 32,000-pound-thrust-class F110-GE-132 engine. Like other advanced F-16s, the Block 60 can carry conformal fuel tanks, and the two-seat version will feature a dorsal avionics compartment and a fully mechanized rear cockpit.