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New F-16 configuration features AESA radar
by Richard Tomkins
Fort Worth, Texas (UPI) Aug 20, 2014


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The newest configuration of Lockheed Martin's F-16 Fighting Falcon has new capabilities with integration of Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar.

AESA radar, with its numerous small solid-state transmit/receive modules, spreads signal emissions across multiple frequencies, increasing the capability of the aircraft using it to avoid detection.

Lockheed Martin said the AESA in F-16V aircraft will ensure Northrop Grumman's Scalable Agile Beam Radar design for the F-16V meets all specified U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin requirements.

"Completing this milestone on schedule demonstrates our ability to meet program commitments," said Roderick McLean, vice president and general manager of the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed Martin. "It proves once again why customers turn to Lockheed Martin to upgrade their F-16 fleets and advance the mission capability of the world's most effective 4th generation multi-role fighter."

Taiwan is tipped as the launch customer for the new F-16 configuration, which features enhancements to the aircraft's mission computer, vehicle systems, aircraft structure, cockpit and electronic warfare systems.

In other F-16-related news, the U.S. Air Force reports that 82 of its 157 two seat, F-16D aircraft have been removed from flight status after the discovery of canopy sill longeron cracks between the front and rear pilot seats.

The Air Force said its F-16 Systems Program Office and Lockheed Martin are analyzing the problem and are developing repair procedures to temporarily allow aircraft with cracks to resume operations for a limited number of flight hours pending permanent repairs.

No estimate on the time scale for full repair, however, was given.

"As aircraft accumulate flight hours, cracks develop due to fatigue from sustained operations," said Lt. Col. Steve Grotjohn, the office's deputy chief of the Weapon System Division. "Fortunately, we have a robust maintenance, inspection and structural integrity program to discover and repair deficiencies as they occur."

The Air Force's fleet of F-16Ds is mainly used for training. The average age of the aircraft is 24 years.

The Air Force said it had issued a service-wide immediate action time compliance technical order earlier this month when cracks were discovered on a number of aircraft during post-mission flight inspections. individual F-16 units then conducted inspections on their F-16Ds to ensure aircraft structural integrity.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon was first introduced into service by the Air Force in 1978 and more than 4,500 variants are in use around the world. General Dynamics, which sold its aircraft manufacturing business to Lockheed Martin in 1993, was the original maker of the jet.

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