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Israel to advance F-16 upgrades

July 16, 2007 (by Arie Egozi) - The Israeli Air Force (IDF/AF) is to enhance the combat effectiveness of its 125 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D fighters.

A number of IDFAF F-16C & D's are ready to roll on the runway. [IDFAF photo]

Israel's F-16C/Ds are to receive the same avionics equipment integrated with its new-generation F-16Is, with this intended to boost commonality and allow the aircraft to remain in use until at least 2020.

The air force says the upgrade, which has already undergone flight test using an F-16D, will also enable the older aircraft to carry new weapons slated for integration with its eventual fleet of 102 two-seat F-16Is, more than half of which are now in service.

Likely beneficiaries of the upgrade include Elbit Systems' Elisra and Elop subsidiaries and Israel Aerospace Industries' Elta Systems division, with the modifications likely to be conducted by the air force's 22 depot.