The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has outlined the details on Singapore’s long-awaited upgrade programme for 60 Lockheed Martin F-16 C/D Block 52 fighters.
The proposed package is worth $2.4 billion and includes 70 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, an avionics upgrade, and a small number of guided weapons for testing and integration purposes, according to Flight Global.
The DSCA announcement has not named a company that will supply the AESA radar, or who will perform the avionics upgrade, and no mentioning of any bidding process for the same.
According to the report, two potential AESA radar suppliers are the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR), which was selected by South Korea, and Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR).
Earlier, Northrop Grumman’s SABR was selected for the US Air Force F-16 upgrade programme, the report claims that it may also be used to upgrade Taiwan’s F-16 fleet.
The report says that BAE Systems will upgrade the avionics for Seoul’s F-16s, while Lockheed will upgrade the avionics of US and Taiwan operated F-16s.
No official statement has been made yet by BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin.
BAE Systems has highlighted the cost benefits to the government in case of any future tender issued for the F-16 upgrade. Lockheed Martin was quoted as saying that its status as the F-16’s original manufacturer gives it unique competencies for upgrade programmes.
In addition to the 70 AESA radar sets, the upgrade includes 70 Northrop Grumman LN-260 embedded global positioning system/inertial navigation systems, 70 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems, and 70 BAE Systems APX-125 advanced identification friend or foe combined interrogator transponders. Also included are items such as spares, training, and logistical support.
The small number of weapons in the package includes three Raytheon AIM-9X Block II captive air training missiles, and a selection of ground attack weapons.
Singapore defense officials have indicated that an F-16 upgrade programme is planned, but have given no specifics about the timeframe. According to the report, it could be announced this year or possibly in 2015.