Lockheed Martin may be focusing a large proportion of its promotional efforts on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, but the company insists there is still a lot of life left in the F-16 and that production could continue alongside that of the F-35 for some years. Meanwhile, the company has outlined a sustainment and supportability plan that projects to at least 2040.
F-16 Fighting Falcon
Pratt & Whitney and General Electric have bought their high-stakes battle over the provision of an alternative engine for the Lockheed-Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Farnborough.
Following a successful series of trials in a U.S. Air Force F-16 that began late last year, Northrop Grumman’s SABR (scalable agile beam radar) has been refined to the point where the company says it is ready for production. Since receiving limited export clearance in February, Northrop Grumman has been actively marketing the radar upgrade to a number of F-16 users, and it hopes the U.S. Air Force will move ahead with an F-16 radar upgrade.
After making its international debut in May at SOFEX in Jordan, the Scorpion helmet-mounted sight is being shown by Raytheon and Gentex for the first time at a major airshow here at Farnborough. The Scorpion is a monocle-
based system developed by the Visionix division of helmet manufacturer Gentex, with systems integration by Raytheon.
With J-10A production in full stride, Chengdu is working on integrating new technology, which may lead to an improved production aircraft. A prototype has been seen and photographed with several important new features. Most obvious are new radome and intake structures.
Lockheed Martin announced another order for Sniper targeting pods from the U.S. Air Force, and revealed that Saudi Arabia has recently become a customer, presumably to fit on its F-15 fighters. The Sniper provides high-resolution imagery for precision targeting or simply for monitoring the ground, in a role that has become known as nontraditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The design maybe 40 years old, but there is plenty of life left in the F-15 Eagle fighter. Boeing’s St. Louis factory is producing F-15Ks for South Korea and F-15SGs for Singapore, and current orders mean that the Eagle will be in production into 2012. Meanwhile, Boeing Defense, Space and Security (DSS) is maintaining the technology insertion program that has seen the F-15 remain a viable option in today’s tactical aircraft marketplace.
Letters of offer and acceptance (LOAs) covering the supply of Raytheon’s AIM-120C-7, the latest version of the proven advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (Amraam), have been signed by three Arab nations: Kuwait, Morocco and Jordan (in order of signing).