The aircraft, serial numbers 005 and 006, are former HAF F-16C Block 52+ aircraft that were originally delivered to the HAF in 2009. Initial upgrade work on 005 was undertaken locally by Hellenic Aircraft Industries (HAI), supported by Lockheed Martin, at Tanagra, where it re-flew on January 17, 2021. After a series of local test flights, it was flown to the US for Lockheed Martin to complete the remainder of the modifications.
Once completed, Lockheed Martin undertook further flight testing to certify the modifications undertaken by HAI and clear the company to complete work on the remaining aircraft. They are the first of a total of 84 HAF F-16s that will be upgraded to F-16V standard under a contract signed on December 20, 2018. The first two will initially be used at Tanagra for training HAF pilots on the aircraft’s new systems. Between four to six more will be delivered before the year-end, with all upgrades due for completion by 2027.
The modernisation includes new AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), AN/APX-126 Advanced Identification Friend of Foe (IFF), Link 16 datalink, new Centre Pedestal Display, full Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) and Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System II (JHMCS II) compatibility along with an automatic ground collision avoidance system, new embedded GPS/INS (EGI), modern commercial off-the-shelf avionics system and a high-volume, high-speed databus.