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BAE Systems to upgrade radar receiver on Taiwan's F-16 aircraft

February 26, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - BAE Systems is being awarded a US$9.33 million contract to provide for the hardware and software upgrade of the AN/ALR56M radar-warning receiver on the Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) F-16s, the U.S. Department of Defense said Friday.
The AN/ALR-56M Advanced Radar Warning Receiver (ARWR) continuously detects and intercept RF signals in certain frequency ranges and analyzes and separates threat signals from non-threat signals. It displays threat signals to pilot on a priority basis.

The ALR-56M includes a fast scanning superhet receiver, superhet controller, analysis processor, low band receiver/power supply, and four quadrant receivers.

"The computer upgrade will allow the RoCAF to update its F-16 Operational Flight Program to include additional functions," said Howard Paul, BAE Systems' AN/ALR-56M program manager. The upgrade will provide a much more powerful central processing unit with greater speed and memory, and software enhancements will improve pilot situational awareness.

ALR-69 upgrades are ongoing for earlier blocks of the F-16 and some other aircraft.

The contract was awarded under a U.S. government- to government sales program. All production and test work will be performed at BAE Systems' Greenlawn, New York, facility through 2008.

Since winning a civil war in 1949, the communist authorities in Beijing have viewed self-governing Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be united with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the United States is committed to help Taiwan defend itself. The act stipulates that the United States will "consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States."

This act also requires the United States "to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character", and "to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan." However, it does not necessarily require the United States to take any military action against the PRC in the event of an attack.

The PRC does not recognize the legitimacy of the Taiwan Relations Act as it is viewed by them as "an unwarranted intrusion by the United States into the internal affairs of China."