HANSCOM AFB, Mass., 25 July 2012. Engineers at the Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) Corp. Mission Systems & Sensors (MS2) segment in Owego, N.Y., will perform a major aircraft upgrade to early model F-16A/B jet fighters operated by the Royal Thai Air Force in Bangkok under terms of a $2.6 billion U.S. Air Force contract awarded this month.
The Air Force Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., awarded the contract to Lockheed Martin on 11 July as part of the U.S. foreign military sales program. The contract was awarded as the Farnborough International Airshow was being staged in Farnborough, England. Few details were given in the contract announcement.
In September 2010 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) in Washington notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale to Thailand of a three-phased program to upgrade 18 F-16A/B block 15 jet fighters with a mid-life upgrade (MLU) to bring Thailand F-16 A/B aircraft to near the F-16C/D Block 50 configuration.
The mid-life upgrade requested by the Royal Thai Air Force was to involve a Modular Mission Computer, APG-68(V)9 radar, APX-113 Combined interrogator and transponder, ALQ-213 electronic warfare management system, and ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser system
The Thai request nearly two years ago also included spare and repair parts, tools and support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering and technical support services, and other logistics support.
The cost of the mid-life upgrade to Thai F-16 fighters at the time was estimated at $700 million. Work requested involved a three-phased program to upgrade 18 Royal Thai Air Force F-16A/B block 15 aircraft with the mid-life upgrade. Each phase was requested to upgrade six aircraft over a three-year period, with each phase overlapping by one year.
Royal Thai Air Force officials in their request said Thailand needs the F-16 MLU program to upgrade its aging F-16 fleet and to increase air sovereignty fighter aircraft effectiveness and interoperability with U.S. forces.
The F-16 mid-life upgrade program, Thai officials said, will enhance the Royal Thailand Air Force’s capability to conduct day, night, and adverse-weather air defense operations. The upgrade, officials said, would not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The Royal Thai Air Force also operates the Saab JAS-39 C/D Gripen fighter. The F-16 mid-life upgrade is expected to give the Thailand air force a secondary fighter force with full day, night, and adverse weather capabilities.
For more information contact Lockheed Martin MS2 online at www.lockheedmartin.com/us/ms2, the Air Force Electronic Systems Center at www.hanscom.af.mil, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency at www.dsca.mil, or the Royal Thai Air Force at www.rtaf.mi.th.