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F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Lockheed Martin to start production phase of major F-16 avionics upgrade

September 7, 1999 (by Lieven Dewitte) - LMTAS received the first increment of a contract worth $108 million on Sept. 3, to begin kit production activities for the upgrade of 64 United States Air Force Block 50/52 F-16s. This effort is part of the F-16 Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP) that will configure nearly 700 USAF Block 50/52 and Block 40/42 F-16 aircraft with common avionics.
The total program is valued at approximately $1.6 billion.

The purpose of the F-16 CCIP is to provide:
  1. state-of-the-art capability;
  2. expanded avionics growth potential (primarily through software updates);
  3. reduced potential of diminishing manufacturing sources;
  4. avionics commonality for the Block 50/52 and 40/42 fleets.
The common configuration will reap benefits in logistics, training, operational versatility and cost of future software upgrades.

The CCIP configuration includes the following systems: Modular Mission Computer, Color Multifunction Display Set, Common Data Entry Electronics Unit, Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator, Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), Link 16 Multifunction Information Distribution System (MIDS) Low Volume Terminal with TACAN, and the integration of new weapons such as the AIM-9X high-off boresight air-to-air missile and the AGM-158 Joint Air-to- Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM). In addition, integration of an Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) with air-to-air interrogation capability is being included for the 251 Block 50/52 aircraft under a separate contract action authorized Aug. 30.

After the CCIP modifications, the Block 50/52 and Block 40/42 versions will be essentially interchangeable in terms of cockpit, avionics and weapons capability. Residual systems differences in the two blocks will be in the pilot's head-up display unit version, the fire control radar version, the AIFF and the engines.

LMTAS began hardware development for CCIP under a separate contract in May 1998. Initial flight testing began in June 1999. Associated software development began in November 1998, and full-integration flight testing will begin in June 2001. LMTAS will provide the production modification kits beginning in July 2001. The aircraft will be modified at the USAF Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and the first aircraft will complete modification in early 2002. The block 50 aircraft will have priority and will be completed in 2002 through 2006. block 40 aircraft will be modified between 2005 and 2009.

The Block 40/50 aircraft are the newest F-16C/Ds (delivered in 1989 and on), constituting about one half of USAF's total F-16 fleet and about 30 percent of the total USAF fighter force. These aircraft are expected to be in service beyond 2015.

Col. Jeffrey Riemer, director of the F-16 Systems Program Office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, said, "This program will ensure our Block 40/50 fleet retains its state-of-the-art capability and supportability. The CCIP core avionics and cockpit will provide us commonality with the F-16A/B Mid- Life Update and the future Block 50 aircraft being purchased by USAF and international customers. This will provide all of us in the F-16 community tremendous economies of scale in sharing future hardware and software upgrades. "

"This is the first major upgrade program for the F-16C/Ds, " said William B. Anderson, vice president of the F-16 Business Group at LMTAS in Fort Worth, Texas. "In addition to the nearly 700 aircraft programd for USAF, there are more than 1, 400 F-16C/Ds worldwide that are potential candidates for this upgrade or portions of it.