Thailand Moving to Upgrade its F-16 Fleet

ELEC_AN-APG-68v9_Radar_F-16.jpg

APG-68(V)9 on F-16
(click to view full)

June 10/13: Radars. Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Linthicum Heights, MD receives a maximum $115 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide 38 AN/APG-68(V)9 radar systems: 16 for the Royal Thai Air Force and 22 for the Republic of Iraq. This foreign military sale also includes spares for F-16 operators Egypt, Morocco, and Pakistan.

The 16 radars seems to cover the next 2 phases of Thailand’s modernization program, and leads one to wonder the 2-plane Feb 14/11 crash (q.v.) brought eligible F-16 numbers down from 18 to 16, or if Thailand is stopping short of 18 for other reasons.

This is a sole-source buy, as it must be, and $51.4 million is committed immediately. Work will be performed in Linthicum, MD, and is expected to be complete by Dec 20/17. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WWMK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, acts as the FMS agent for these orders (FA8615-13-C-6018).

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RTAF F-16A(click to view full) As Thailand invests in its future air force, which includes 4+ generation JAS-39 C/D Gripen fighters and S340 AEW air control planes, it still needs to pay attention to its 18-plane supporting fleet of 1980s-era F-16A/B Block 15s. A September 2010 request would bring those aircraft near F-16C/D Block 50 standards via a mid-life upgrade, giving the RTAF a secondary fighter force with full day/night and adverse weather capabilities. APG-68(V)9 on F-16(click to view full) June 10/13: Radars. Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Linthicum Heights, MD receives a maximum $115 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide 38 AN/APG-68(V)9 radar systems: 16 for the Royal Thai Air Force and 22 for the Republic of Iraq. This foreign military sale also includes spares for F-16 operators Egypt, Morocco, and Pakistan. The 16 radars seems to cover the next 2 phases of Thailand’s modernization program, and leads one to wonder the 2-plane Feb 14/11 crash (q.v.) brought eligible F-16 numbers down from 18 to 16, or if Thailand is stopping short of 18 for other reasons. This is a sole-source buy, as it must be, and $51.4 million is committed immediately. Work will be performed in Linthicum, MD, and […]
F-16A Thai

RTAF F-16A
(click to view full)

As Thailand invests in its future air force, which includes 4+ generation JAS-39 C/D Gripen fighters and S340 AEW air control planes, it still needs to pay attention to its 18-plane supporting fleet of 1980s-era F-16A/B Block 15s. A September 2010 request would bring those aircraft near F-16C/D Block 50 standards via a mid-life upgrade, giving the RTAF a secondary fighter force with full day/night and adverse weather capabilities.

AN-APG-68v9 radar on F-16

APG-68(V)9 on F-16
(click to view full)

June 10/13: Radars. Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Linthicum Heights, MD receives a maximum $115 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide 38 AN/APG-68(V)9 radar systems: 16 for the Royal Thai Air Force and 22 for the Republic of Iraq. This foreign military sale also includes spares for F-16 operators Egypt, Morocco, and Pakistan.

The 16 radars seems to cover the next 2 phases of Thailand’s modernization program, and leads one to wonder the 2-plane Feb 14/11 crash (q.v.) brought eligible F-16 numbers down from 18 to 16, or if Thailand is stopping short of 18 for other reasons.

This is a sole-source buy, as it must be, and $51.4 million is committed immediately. Work will be performed in Linthicum, MD, and is expected to be complete by Dec 20/17. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WWMK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, acts as the FMS agent for these orders (FA8615-13-C-6018).

March 14/12: Radars. Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Linthicum Heights, MD receives an $87.8 million dollar firm-fixed-price Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program contract, to provide 43 AN/APG-68v9 radar systems to the Republic of Iraq (22), the Royal Air Force of Oman (15), and the Royal Thai Air Force (6). The 6 Thai radars are enough to cover 1 phase of the 3-phase F-16 modernization program (vid. Sept 30/10 entry).

The AN/APG-68v9 is the standard radar for new F-16C/D aircraft. Northrop Grumman cites a 33% increase in air-to-air detection range over earlier versions, plus ground-looking synthetic aperture radar with mapping and 2-foot point target response. They also claim that the radar’s reduced weight, power, and cooling help contribute to 25%-45% lower support costs, though their baseline comparison for those costs isn’t clear.

Work will be performed in Linthicum Heights, MD, and is expected to be complete by March 3/15. The ASC/WWMK at Wright Patterson AFB, OH manages this contract (FA8615-12-C-6047).

Feb 14/11: Crash. A pair of RTAF F-16s are destroyed in a presumed collision during the 2011 Cobra Gold exercises. The jets went down in north-east Thailand, and both Thai pilots ejected and survived. The collision is presumed because the wreckage was so close, but a formal inquiry is under way.

Thailand should have enough F-16s to lose these 2, and still upgrade 18 fighters. Bangkok Post.

Crash 2

Sept 30/10: DSCA request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Thailand’s official export request to buy components for a 3-phased, 7-year long mid-life upgrade, with each phase upgrading 6 aircraft over a 3-year period, and each phase overlapping by 1 year. The estimated cost is up to $700 million, and the prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX. Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Thailand.

F-16 upgrades will include a new Modular Mission Computer; Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-68v9 mechanically pivoted phased array radar; BAE Systems’ AN/APX-113 Combined IFF Interrogator and Transponder, and AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser System; Terma’s AN/ALQ-213 Electronic Warfare Management System; plus spare and repair parts, tools and support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, and other U.S. Government and contractor support.

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