Upgrade for Singapore’s F-16 Fleet Goes Ahead

 - December 2, 2015, 3:51 PM
A Singaporean ‘F-16D-Plus’ on static display. The island nation has become the second Asian country to confirm an upgrade with Lockheed Martin for the long-serving combat jet. (Photo: Chris Pocock)

Confirmation that Singapore is proceeding with an F-16 fighter upgrade came from an official U.S. government business announcement this week. Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $914 million foreign military sales (FMS) contract for the major part of the work, which should be completed by mid-2023.

The intention of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) to modernize 60 F-16C/D/D+ aircraft was confirmed in January 2014, when the U.S. Congress was notified of a potential sale worth more than $2.4 billion. The sale would include 70 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars; modular mission computers; multifunction displays; embedded GPS/INS; advanced IFF; joint helmet-mounted cueing systems (JHMCS); the joint mission planning system (JMPS); radios; secure communications including Link 16 terminals; and other equipment, including small quantities of weapons for test. The JHMCS, IFF and Link 16 terminals are now being acquired separately, in a transaction valued at $130 million.

At the time of that notification, the RSAF had a choice of upgrade contractor and radar, since Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman were being challenged by BAE Systems and Raytheon respectively. That challenge ended when the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) abandoned plans to have the BAE/Raytheon team upgrade its 134 F-16C/Ds. Korea has not yet confirmed that Lockheed Martin will instead upgrade its F-16s, including the Northrup Grumman APG-68 radar. However, Lockheed Martin announced in October that the first F-16 to be upgraded had just made its first flight. Taiwan is effectively the launch customer for what is now officially designated the F-16V, with Singapore now presumably following.