Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) To Develop New Indigenous Modernization Kits and Mission Computers For F-16s

Turkey’s military aircraft giant Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI)
is set to develop new indigenous modernization kits and mission
computers.
Upgrades will be applicable to all the F-16 Block
40 fighters of the Peace Onyx III and Block 50 fighters of the Peace
Onyx IV programs, as well as the Block 30s that were acquired earlier.
TAI plans to market the upgrades for export to other countries.
Previous news about TAI and Aselsan’s joint
attempts to produce indigenous mission computers have been clarified by
TAI insiders. Latest reports indicate that the companies have finalized
their technical consultations with the MOD and industrial suppliers as
of the end of January and the project has been given green light in
order to equip Turkey’s vast fleet of F-16s with newly developed
indigenous sensors and weapons such as Aselpod navigation and targeting
system, various missiles and high-precision munitions produced and/or
currently under development in Turkey.
 
Project aims to upgrade all of Turkish Air Force (TurAF) F-16s
with indigenous mission computers, software and avionics in order to
pave the way for the installation of an Aselsan-developed AESA radar by
2015.
Hardware for the avionics upgrade will be exclusively manufactured by
Aselsan, while TAI will tackle the development of millions of lines of
highly specialized software. Upgrades will be performed by the same team
that performed C-130 modernization and software team mostly consists of
experienced engineers who have worked on the Anka UAV development
program. Upgraded aircraft will look somewhat similar to existing Peace
Onyx exterior configurations, except with specific EW-E/O
sensor additions and pylons capable of launching ’Made in Turkey’ guided
munitions.
Integration of indigenous systems on aircraft of Lockheed Martin
origin is known to be a difficult undertaking. TAI and Aselsan’s take on
the project and F-16s “nationalization” at the Block 50 level is
expected to offer Turkey a wide window of export and ‘transfer of
technology’ (TOT) opportunities thanks to the F-16s widespread
popularity around the world. 
Turkey will be able to sell these countries comprehensive modernization packages like the CCIP, individual
sensors and weapon systems like targeting pods and missiles, as well as
“nationalization” opportunities with direct TOT.
Turkey’s ‘special status’ with the F-16 comes from its existing place
among the world’s top three users of the aircraft, previous
manufacturing and export experience with the Falcon (to Egypt), as well
as Turkey’s long-standing partnership and commitment in the F-35 JSF
program.
Some Turkish defence analysts suggest that Turkey’s newfound ability
to nationalize the F-16 is simply a means for compensating the country
for not being given F-35 source codes, despite the longstanding NATO
member’s commitment for an initial batch of over 100 F-35s.