LONDON --- The US Air Force (USAF) is moving ahead with a service-life extension programme (SLEP) of its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft, with an initial sources sought notice being issued to industry on 14 January.
The request for information (RfI) posted on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website seeks to determine the level of industry support for a SLEP for up to 300 of the service's 1,017 Block 40/42 and 50/52 C- and D-model F-16s.
The USAF received its Block 40/42 F-16C/D in 1989, with deliveries of the first Block 50/52 aircraft commencing in 1994. Although the type will eventually be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the SLEP seeks to extend their flight hour life from 8,000 to 12,000 hours (about eight years of operational flying). The fleet is also receiving new ground collision avoidance systems (some 26% of F-16 aircraft losses and 75% of F-16-related fatalities are caused by 'controlled flight into terrain').
While the USAF received its F-16s under multiple blocks, each with differing capabilities, all aircraft delivered since late 1981 have built-in architecture that permits multirole capabilities. The newer Block 50/52 aircraft also include the capacity to carry and deliver additional precision-guided munitions, such as the GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition and AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon. (end of excerpt)
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