With RSAF’s F-16s, form follows function

 - December 6, 2006, 7:39 AM

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is showing its top-of-the-line F-16D Block 52+ fighter for the first time at Asian Aerospace, in the static park. This two-seat aircraft is optimized for long-range and low-level strike missions, and with its various lumps and bumps, must be the ugliest F-16 version of all time. In fact, the aircraft is externally identical to the F-16I Sufa (Storm) version now operated by the Israeli Air Force.

Some of the external antennas, as well as the fuselage spine, are unique to the Elisra PAWS-series electronic warfare system, although the four IFF blade antennas in front of the cockpit are familiar from other F-16 versions. The conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) provide an extra 450 gallons of fuel, yet this aircraft also touts two 370-gallon  tanks on the inner wing pylons, and is capable of carrying even larger 600-gallon ones.

AIM-9 IR-guided air-to-air missiles (AAMs) hang from the outer wing pylons, and longer-range radar-guided Raytheon AIM-120C AAMs are mounted on
the wingtip launchers. The mid-wing pylons can carry air-ground weapons such as the AGM-65 Maverick or 2,000-pound class laser-guided bombs shown on the aircraft here.

Their targets are designated by the Rafael Litening III pod positioned on the right engine intake station. The left station carries a Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-13 Pathfinder (LANTIRN) auto-navigation pod.

Although neither Israel nor Singapore will confirm the extent of Israeli content on the RSAF’s F-16s, the following systems are part of the F-16I spec and may also have been supplied: Elbit mission computer, head-up display and Dash IV helmet display and sight; Astronautics multifunction displays; Rafael secure communications suite; Rafael Python 4 AAMs and IAI Elta laser-gyro inertial navigation and satellite communications systems.