October 02, 2012
Lockheed Martin has secured a contract to help upgrade the Taiwan air force’s 145 Lockheed Martin F-16A/Bs.
The U.S. government awarded Lockheed Martin the contract, which is valued at up to $1.85 billion, Lockheed says. The retrofit program will include adding an active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar as well as upgrades to the electronic warfare and other avionics systems, and will be based on the F-16V configuration announced by Lockheed Martin earlier this year, the company says.
Northrop Grumman with its Sabr radar and Raytheon with its Racr are competing to win the contract to supply the AESA radar.
Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin’s VP and general manager of the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group, says: “Lockheed Martin looks forward to a continued partnership with the Republic of China [Taiwan] in upgrading their F-16s. Based on elements of the F-16V configuration, Taiwan’s air force will receive the most advanced F-16 upgrades.”
The U.S., a longtime military ally of Taiwan’s, agreed to the upgrade so Taiwan can better defend itself against any future Chinese aggression. Taiwan has also been seeking to buy 66 F-16C/Ds, but following political pressure from China, the U.S. decided to refrain from fulfilling the request.