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New version of the fighter gets radar improvements and more

The Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon has been around for over three decades and so far there have been nearly 4,500 delivered. The F-16 will continue for many years to come and Lockheed Martin has today unveiled a new version called F-16V. The new version of the fighter jet was unveiled at the Singapore Airshow and has new feature enhancements to make the aircraft more formidable.
 
The F-16 V gets new active electronically scanned array radar (AESA), an upgraded mission computer and architecture, along with improvements inside the cockpit. Lockheed Martin says that all of those new features are things that have been identified by the USAF and international buyers as needing improvement. The AESA radar promises significant capability improvements for the aircraft and Lockheed Martin has developed a solution to affordably retrofit the new radar to existing F-16s.
 
The new F-16V configuration is now an option for new production aircraft with most elements of the upgrade available for earlier F-16s. The V designation comes from Viper, which is the nickname pilots have given the F-16 since it entered service.
 
“We believe this F-16V will satisfy our customers’ emerging requirements and prepare them to better interoperate with the 5th generation fighters, the F-35 and F-22,” said George Standridge, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ vice president of business development.
 
Today 26 different countries fly the F-16 and it is hailed as the world's most successful fourth-generation fighter. The upgraded AESA radar will also help F-16V to be more interoperable with fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 and F-22. The USAF is reportedly interested in upgrading between 300 and 350 of its F-16s to the new version.
 
Lockheed Martin has an order from Iraq that is large enough to keep F-16 production line open until the end of 2015; after that it needs additional orders to keep F-16 production going into 2016.

Sources: Lockheed Martin, F-16.net, flight global





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