FORT WORTH, Texas --- The U.S. Air Force recently began using a software update developed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. that will add a new "smart" weapons capability to its 400-aircraft fleet of Block 40/42 F-16C/Ds.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. is a business area of Lockheed Martin Corp.
Smart weapons provide the ability to conduct precision attacks in all weather and avoid intense threat defenses near the target. The new smart weapons enabled for use by the software update are:
"This is the sixth software update for USAF's Block 40/42s, and the seventh is well along in development," said William J. Lake, director of U.S. Air Force and European Participating Air Forces F-16 programs at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. "USAF has challenged us to produce software updates about every two years for each block in the USAF F-16C/D fleet, and this is keeping the F-16 current with the latest developments in weapons capabilities."
In addition to the new weapons, the software update includes improvements to the APG-68 multimode radar operation, AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to- Air Missile (AMRAAM) display symbology, digital terrain system capabilities, and data link functions. The update also includes numerous cockpit mechanization improvements that will enhance pilot situation awareness and efficiency in the tactical environment.
The new weapons capability and other improvements are integrated with only software changes to the aircraft's core avionics and no hardware changes to the aircraft. The software is installed on the aircraft at the base level in a matter of minutes, without removing any components.
Eventually, after receiving the F-16 Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP) major upgrade, USAF Block 40/42s and 50/52s will have common core avionics and software. The CCIP modification to the first Block 50/52 aircraft was completed in January 2002, and the first Block 40/42 is scheduled for the CCIP upgrade in 2005.
The F-16, the world's most sought-after fighter, is the choice of 22 countries. More than 4,000 aircraft have been delivered, hundreds more are on order for the United States and six other countries, and production is expected to continue beyond 2010. Major upgrades for all F-16 versions are being incorporated to keep the fleet modern and fully supportable over the aircraft's long service life.
The F-16 is playing a major role as the durable and versatile "workhorse" in allied peacekeeping operations in the Balkans and Iraq. The F-16 is a key player in Operation Noble Eagle, homeland air defense of the United States, and recently participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in the war on terrorism in Afghanistan.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is a leader in the design, development, systems integration, production, and support of advanced military aircraft and related technologies. Its customers include the military services of the United States and allied countries throughout the world. Products include the F-16, F-22, F-35 JSF, F-117, T-50, C-5, C-27J, C-130, C-130J, P-3, and U-2.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin Corp. is a global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, and integration of advanced technology systems, products, and services. Employing about 125,000 people worldwide, Lockheed Martin had 2001 sales of $24 billion.