Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Chicago, IL, United States (4E) – The latest iteration of the iconic Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon supersonic multirole fighter — the F-16 Viper Block 70 — is equipped with technologies deployed aboard American stealth jets that overmatch the most modern Russian and Chinese aircraft.
Lockheed Martin recently received a massive $1.12 billion contract from the U.S. government to produce 16 advanced F-16V Block 70 Fighting Falcons for the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF). This contract means the RBAF will become the first operator of the most advanced and capable version of F-16 ever designed.
Lockheed Martin said the F-16V is a capable warplane by any standard, and draws much of its technology from the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter. The F-16 continues to be promoted as the most capable fighter aircraft available to U.S. allies around the world.
At the core of the F-16V is the Northrop Grumman APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. This powerful radar is based on technology leveraged from the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 and can track more than 20 targets simultaneously.
The APG-83 can also generate one foot resolution synthetic aperture radar maps and has a range greater than 160 nautical miles against ground targets. The Block 70 also has a new state of the art electronic warfare system.
It features a modernized cockpit with a new Center Pedestal Display (CPD) that provides tactical imagery on a high-resolution 6″x 8″ screen. The new display will allow pilots to take full advantage of the Block 70’s new sensors.
The cockpit also has provisions for the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System II (JHMCS II) display, which lets pilot take full advantage of the Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder. The F-16V has an upgraded airframe with an extended structural service life of 12,000 hours and can carry conformal fuel tanks.
The F-16V features an “advanced engine.” While Lockheed Martin did not specify which engine equips the F-16V, the aircraft will most likely be powered by a General Electric F110-GE-132 rated at 32,500 lbf (144 kN) of afterburning thrust.
The F-16Vs can carry a vast arsenal of weapons. Lockheed Martin has certified more than 3,300 carriage and release configurations for more than 180 weapon and store types.
There are still 3,000 operational F-16s flying around the world with more than 25 different air forces. Many of these jets will have to be upgraded to the Block 70 standard as time goes on.
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