Saturday, September 1, 2012

Air Force finally does the right thing

Finally the Air Force has decided to extend the life of 300 late model F-16's. This is a direct result of the total failure to date of the F-35 program which is now 5 plus years late. The interview of Col Mol by Flight International indicated the installation will begin in late 2016 and will add 15 years of life to the aircraft. Below are some of the quotes

The aircraft, which are drawn from the USAF's fleet of Block 40, 42, 50 and 52 machines, will undergo a structural service life extension programme (SLEP) and a combat avionics programmed extension suite (CAPES) upgrade. The modifications will greatly boost the venerable warplane's capabilities.

"It provides a very significant capability to the F-16 platform that puts it on par, I do believe, with some of the other platforms that have AESA [active electronically scanned array radars] today," says Col Mark Mol, programme manager at the USAF's F-16 System Programme Office at Hill AFB, Utah.

The CAPES programme involves both hardware and software modifications, Mol says. The F-16 will receive a new AESA radar, a new Terma ALQ-213 electronic warfare system, an integrated broadcast system (IBS) and a center display unit (CDU). There will also be a new operational flight programme to tie those new systems together with the aircraft's existing avionics. The software will be one of the biggest challenges, Mol says.

Maybe the USAF should look at procuring more new build F-16 and F-15 Silent Eagles instead of flushing additional money which we can't afford down the F-35 wishing well.

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