BAE Systems has commenced the first phase of upgrades on two KF-16C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon aircraft of the Republic of Korea Air Force, at its facility in Fort Worth, Texas, US.
The aircraft will be upgraded with advanced weapons and avionics such as advanced mission computers, new cockpit displays, and radars and targeting sensors.
BAE received a foreign military sales contract from the US Department of Defense in December 2013.
The company is required to upgrade and integrate advanced systems in South Korea’s fleet of 134 KF-16 fighters in two phases over several years.
Phase I covers provision of associated equipment, parts, training, and logistical support.
Scheduled to commence this year, phase II will fund systems integration and flight test activities, followed by production and installation of upgrade kits in the aircraft.
The work will be undertaken at BAE’s sites in Florida, New York, California and Virginia, in addition to the Texas facility.
BAE Systems Global Fighter Programs vice-president and general manager John Bean said: "The arrival of the jets is a major milestone for our entire team and a historic occasion for both our company and the industry."
The programme makes BAE the first non-original equipment manufacturer to perform a major upgrade for a fourth-generation US fighter jet.
The KF-16 is a Korean variant of the Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter and was built by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) in 1990s.
Image: South Korean air force’s KF-16C/D Block 52 aircraft. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.