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F-16 Fighting Falcon News

EDO and Terma to develop smart-weapon ejector rack for the F-16

April 28, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Today, EDO Corp said it entered into teaming agreement with Terma A/S to jointly develop an Enhanced Smart Triple Ejector Rack (ESTER) to be used on under-wing F-16 weapons stores.

A triple ejector rack (TER) mounted on RDAF F-16B block 15 #ET-022 at Aalborg AB on July 3rd, 1992. [Photo by Erik Frikke]

The Triple Ejector Rack is a weapon-suspension unit that attaches to an aircraft's weapon pylons, enabling each pylon to carry three weapons. The Triple Ejector Rack has a single drop capability meaning that the aircrew can drop the three bombs individually.

The ESTER program will upgrade existing TER-9 racks by adding the capability to carry modern "smart" weapons 500 lbs. class Smart Weapons such as GBU-38 (GPS guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions - JDAM) and EGBU-12 (GPS/Laser guided Smart Bomb - Paveway) and similar stores that operate on the military standard 1760 interface.

The Royal Danish Air Force or RDAF has already authorized testing of the ESTER capability for qualification on its F-16 Mid-Life Update or MLU. This includes system integration laboratory testing in October 2006 followed by flight testing in November.

Precision Guided Weapons require a lot of information to be passed between the aircraft and the weapon. To make this possible, a new wiring standard has been accomplished by the last block cycle on aircraft level, and by a wing weapon pylon upgrade program on pylon level. Having provided the F-16 Wing Weapon Pylons with MIL-STD-1760 (Smart Weapon) capability, it was a logic step for Terma to develop the same capability for the Triple Ejector Rack (TER-9A).

Therefore, Terma has developed an upgrade for the TER Smart Triple Ejector Rack (STER) in 2004 which allows carrying three Precision Guided Weapons on one pylon.

As part of the MLU M5, the EPAF F-16s receive updates to the Stores Management System program which will allow the F-16 to handle multiple Smart Weapons on the wing stations, so the aircraft update is already planned.

Additional images:

USAF 388th FW F-16A Block 15, #81741 dropping 6 Mk.82 bombs from two Triple Ejector Racks [USAF photo]

FAV F-16 with triple ejector rack at Puerto Ordaz Airport, Venezuela on May 25th, 2004. [Photo by Iván Peña Nesbit]