Lockheed Martin unveiled a new version of the F-16 today at the Singapore Airshow. The F-16V will feature enhancements including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, an upgraded mission computer and architecture, and improvements to the cockpit – all capabilities identified by the U.S. Air Force and several international customers for future improvements.
With nearly 4,500 F-16s delivered, this is a natural step in the evolution of the world’s most successful 4th generation fighter. The Fighting Falcon program has continually evolved as it began with the F-16 A/B as the lightweight fighter then transitioned to F-16 C/D and Block 60 versions as customers’ requirements changed.
AESA radars offer significant operational capability improvements. Lockheed Martin has developed an innovative solution to affordably retrofit this key technology into existing F-16s. The F-16V configuration is an option for new production jets and elements of the upgrade are available to most earlier-model F-16s. The “V” designation is derived from Viper, the name fighter pilots have called the F-16 from its beginnings.
“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.