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BAE initiates phase 1 of ROKAF F-16 upgrades

June 26, 2014 (by Lieven Dewitte) - BAE Systems started the the upgrades on the first two of 134 KF-16 C/D block 52 aircraft operated by South Korea. A single-seat F-16C and twin-seat F-16D recently arrived at BAE’s facility at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, Texas.

ROKAF, F-16C block 52, #93-067 climbing away [Samsung Aerospace photo]

The aircraft will be upgraded with advanced weapons and avionics such as advanced mission computers, new cockpit displays, and radars and targeting sensors.

The aircraft will be upgraded with new weapons, improved avionics, new mission computers, new cockpit displays, and the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR).

The work is part of a Foreign Military Sales contract BAE received from the US Department of Defense in December 2013. The company is required to upgrade the Republic of Korea Air Force fleet of 134 KF-16 fighters in two phases over several years.

Phase I covers provision of associated equipment, parts, training, and logistical support. Scheduled to commence this year, phase II will fund systems integration and flight test activities, followed by production and installation of upgrade kits in the aircraft. The upgrades of operational aircraft could begin in 2017, with four to six aircraft receiving the modifications each month.

This program makes BAE the first non-original equipment manufacturer to perform a major upgrade for a fourth-generation US fighter jet.

While the majority of the work will take place in the Texas facility, BAE locations in Florida, New York, California and Virginia will also play a part.

At the Seoul Air Show in October 2013, BAE’s vice-president global fighter programs John Bean said the initial work involves a single-seat F-16C and a twin-seat F-16D.

The KF-16 is a Korean variant of the Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter and was built by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) in 1990s.

Additional images:

RoKAF F-16D block 52 #93-112 from the 111th FS is flying alongside a B-737 AEWC. [RoKAF photo]

RoKAF F-16D block 52 #93-116 from the 20th FW is taxiing by the lens on its way to the runway. [RoKAF photo]

Factory fresh RoKAF F-16D block 32 #84-371 sits at Luke AFB awaiting the ferry across the Pacific. Note the US star decal that was only on the right side of the aircraft and the top wing. The RoKAF marks have been oversprayed with water color for easy removal when the aircraft gets 'in country'. [Photo by Kevin Patrick]