Development of the F-16 will continue

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Unread post02 May 2021, 16:45

Development of the F-16 will continue
May 2, 2021, 09:51

Danya Trent, Vice President of the F-16 Program, Lockheed Martin, talks to Defence24 about the current state of the F-16 program and its future prospects. Also in the context of Poland, where a regional support center for this construction may be established.

Maciej Szopa: The F-16 is still the most popular combat aircraft in the world. This is due not only to the history of this construction, but also to the successes achieved now. Which countries have recently managed to persuade to buy the F-16 and what markets are Lockheed Martin counting on?

Danya Trent: Lockheed Martin has been providing military aviation solutions for decades. Our platforms are proven and offer comprehensive capabilities. The air force all over the world rely on their constant readiness. Our aircraft are the backbone of NATO and Allied fleets, and we are constantly working to modernize and maintain them, ensuring cost-effective readiness.

Regarding the F-16 specifically, we have already produced over 4.5 thousand of them, and they are used by 25 countries. In forty years, these fighters have spent a total of over 19 million hours in the air. One of the main reasons they are chosen is because of their proven effectiveness. Five countries chose the latest model - the F-16 Block 70/72 - of which two countries from Central and Eastern Europe: Slovakia and Bulgaria. That's 128 aircraft in total, and the number is growing. Given international interest, we see potential for at least 300 additional new production aircraft.

There are currently numerous generation 4+ combat aircraft on the market. Some of them are younger designs than the F-16C / D. What features make the F-16 competitive with them?

Today's F-16s bring a new level of capability to the air force around the world. The latest configuration, the F-16 Block 70/72, includes advanced avionics, an upgraded cockpit and a large selection of certified, available, advanced weapon systems. An example of a new technology used in a jet is the Northrop Grumman APG-83 AESA radar, which shares 95% of the software in common and 70% of parts in common with the F-35's radar. Additionally, the Block 70/72 conformal fuel tanks give the F-16 more fuel and a longer range without sacrificing aerodynamics.

The F-16 Block 70/72 also has an industry-unique extended service life of 12,000. hours. For most of the Air Force, this would mean at least 40 years of service life, with no major refurbishment expected over the entire period. It also means the possibility of extending the service intervals, which, together with the increased reliability of the entire aircraft, will significantly reduce maintenance costs. The newly manufactured jets have an additional upgrade in the form of the life-saving Automatic Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS). Since the system entered service in the US Air Force at the end of 2014, there have been 11 Auto GCAS interventions that saved 11 pilots and 10 F-16s from crash.

Besides these facilities, there is another aspect that is more difficult to illustrate. The point is, when you join the F-16 community, it doesn't just mean you'll be a user of that plane. Because in this way you are building, for decades, strategic relations with the United States and other allies. This means the possibility of military cooperation and partnership with the US Air Force. This means training pilots in the air, training on the ground, or joint exercises with the US and other partners. It also means a stronger regional military partnership. This is largely the reason why countries choose the F-16, which makes this aircraft stand out from other fourth-generation jets.

India is one of the countries in which Lockheed Martin is active. The proposed F-21 is the F-16 Block 70/72 or a further development version of this design?

The F-21 is configured to meet the unique requirements of the Indian Air Force to integrate the country into the $ 165 billion fighter ecosystem. Both inside and out, the F-21 has a number of features tailored to the Indian Air Force requirements. The individual systems and capabilities of the F-21 include:

Modern cockpit with a new large-area display (LAD);
Advanced Electronic Warfare (EW) and communication system specially configured for India;
Dorsal fairing with the additional possibility of increasing the capacity, allowing for the future integration of native systems;
Air refueling probe. The F-21 is the only fighter in the world that can be refueled in the air both by a probe and by a boom.
The F-21 can provide the Indian Air Force with an advanced, single-engine, multi-role fighter at optimal life cycle costs.

Continuing the Indian thread. Would winning there mean moving the American production line to India?

We offer F-21 planes for India. If selected, they could be produced in India.

Is there any further development of the F-16 planned or is the F-16V or the F-21 the final version?

We are constantly developing new capabilities and technologies for these platforms and we can see that we will continue to do so in the future. Please note that the F-16V configuration allows this aircraft to be equipped with an AESA radar similar to that of the F-35, as mentioned in the answer to the previous question. This also applies to the modernized cockpit, which allows for more efficient use of weapons. Together, both of these improvements are a powerful deterrent.

The F-16 sells well in Central and Eastern Europe. Poland is the largest user in this region. To what extent could Polish plants become a regional service hub for this structure?

This is true, because there are actually over 700 F-16 planes in Europe alone. The success in the region reflects our belief that the F-16 offers the best quality of the fourth generation aircraft and is highly competitive compared to any other platform. Bulgaria and Slovakia conducted tendering procedures and the F-16s won in both.

When it comes to building Poland's capacity, Lockheed Martin is strongly committed to lasting partnerships. We provide technology transfer, research and development opportunities, long-term and sustainable high-tech jobs. We also contribute to economic growth and exports. Lockheed Martin directly employs 1.6 thousand people in Poland. people and keeps a job of 5 thousand other people in our national supply chain. If there was a justification for such a regional center, Lockheed Martin could use its experience resulting from the involvement in Poland described above.

The Polish technical modernization plan provides for additional F-16s, which will complement the purchase of the F-35 made a year ago. Are there any talks with Poland on this subject?

We are ready to support the Polish Air Force if they define their safety requirements and assess whether the additional new F-16s meet these requirements.

The Polish F-16C / D fleet consists of Block 52+ standard planes, additionally with software upgraded to the M6.5 standard. What additional abilities did this pack give?

The M6.5 standard enables the integration of additional weapons and includes software and hardware system updates.

What would be the benefits of upgrading them to the F-16 Block 70/72 standard. How long would such treatments take and how long would it take?

Upgrading the current Polish F-16 Block 52+ to the Viper configuration, i.e. the F-16V, would provide the same advanced avionics and weaponry capabilities as the new Block 72 aircraft. As mentioned earlier, the Block 70/72 variant offers significant capabilities of great importance . If the Polish Air Force were interested in the new F-16s, we would be happy to start such talks. And when it comes to timelines, a number of factors affect delivery times for new jets, with the United States Air Force making the final decision.

Is it possible to "indirectly" upgrade, without the full F-16V standard, using the existing M.6.5 software, eg by installing an AESA radar? This radar was used by selected F-16s of the National Guard. How are these US space-saving fighters different from the F-16V for Taiwan, Greece, or Slovakia?

Installing a new AESA radar in the Polish F-16 Block 52+ would significantly increase their capabilities. However, to take full advantage of the AESA radar, it would also be necessary to modernize the cockpit to allow the pilot to assess the severity of threats, optimize weapon selection, increase interoperability with national and NATO forces, and process reconnaissance data. There are many upgrade options for the F-16. Decisions on making specific radars and software available for Poland - as for other countries - are made by the US government.

thank you for the conversation ... any-wywiad
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Unread post02 May 2021, 23:31

Pity the article didn't mention the F-36A Kingsnake

A fighter without a gun . . . is like an airplane without a wing.— Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF.
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Unread post04 May 2021, 02:58

When it comes to how much bang you get for your buck it is the only game in town!!!
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Unread post05 May 2021, 06:19

FlightDreamz wrote:Pity the article didn't mention the F-36A Kingsnake

Pity it does no mention the x-wing strafighter either. Both are equally real planes.

There is no f-36 kingsnake, and will never be. Such planesiw not being developed, the plane is 100 % imaginary. Nothing to mention.

Lets not clutter threads that are about real planes with talk about inaginary planes.

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