BAE Systems Wins Korean F-16 Upgrade

 - August 3, 2012, 12:21 PM
This is one of about 130 Korean air force F-16s that will be upgraded by BAE Systems, rather than Lockheed Martin. (Photo: Chris Pocock)

BAE Systems, not Lockheed Martin, will upgrade the avionics of some 130 Korean air force F-16C/Ds. A spokesman for Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in Seoul that his agency will request the BAE package as a U.S. foreign military sale (FMS). DAPA has yet to choose between AESA radar contenders from Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, but BAE Systems said recently it is “agnostic” about the choice of radar.

Lockheed Martin referred questions about the contract decision to the Korean and U.S. air forces. As the OEM, Lockheed Martin noted that it had been chosen as the prime integrator for the forthcoming upgrade of at least 300 U.S. Air Force F-16C/D Block 40/52s.

Lockheed Martin also revealed that last month Taiwan signed the inter-government letter of offer for the upgrade of its 150 F-16A/Bs, for which the OEM will act as the prime. Lockheed Martin has signed an MoU with Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) to collaborate on the upgrade, including the manufacture of component parts. The MoU also includes “potential offset projects.”

BAE Systems said it was not given the opportunity to compete for the Taiwan F-16 upgrade. “If asked, we would welcome the opportunity to provide a competitive bid,” BAE added. In Seoul, the DAPA spokesman denied reports in the local media that BAE’s Korean F-16 upgrade bid was 25 percent lower than Lockheed Martin’s.