‘VIPER’ LINED UP FOR MAJOR MAKEOVER

The US Air Force may have had the rug pulled from under its major F-16 upgrade project, but a series of new initiatives are gathering pace.

UNDER THE RADAR

TAKING A LOOK AT THE HOTTEST TOPICS IN MODERN AIR POWER

The US Air Force Block 50/52 F-16CMs will likely receive a raft of upgrades to keep them viable until 2048, and maybe longer.
Jamie Hunter

THE US AIR Force authorized a significant life extension for its F-16s in April. Following extensive fatigue testing by Lockheed Martin, the USAF says it is content to clear the ‘Viper’ airframe for 12,000 hours, an extension to the current 8,000-hour limit. A service life extension program (SLEP) of structural modification s is now planned in order to clear the USAF’s Block 40/42/50/52 aircraft for service until 2048 and beyond. This is likely to kick-start a number of accompanying avionics upgrade projects, designed to underpin the front-line F-16 fleet for another three decades.

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