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The US Department of Defense has awarded a $914m contract to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to upgrade Singapore’s fleet of F-16 aircraft.

The work under the Foreign Military Sales contract will be completed by June 2023.

Singapore has been operating the F-16 fleet for more than 20 years, receiving both production Block 52 F-16C/D and F-16C/D from Lockheed.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is an all-weather multirole fighter jet.

The single-engine aircraft was originally manufactured by General Dynamics (GD) and became a part of Lockheed Martin when it acquired the aircraft manufacturing business of GD.

"F-16 avionics upgrades can be integrated quickly, affordably and effectively."

The US Air Force maintains a fleet of more than 2,000 F-16s, while 2,000 more are operational across 80 locations worldwide.

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In addition to Singapore, the aircraft are used in Bahrain, Greece, Israel, Egypt, New Zealand, the UAE, South Korea, Oman, Chile and Poland.

In July, Singapore said that upgrades to its F-16C/D fleet will start next year.

Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen then told IHS Jane’s 360 that the F-16s will be upgraded in phases and is expected to last five to six years.

According to the country’s ministry of defence, the jets will be upgraded to provide an all-weather, ground-attack capability, to carry precision munitions such as the laser joint direct attack munition (LJDAM).

Lockheed Martin states on its website: "International F-16 upgrade programmes combine the requirements of many customers for long-term cost savings through commonality and interoperability.

"F-16 avionics upgrades can be integrated quickly, affordably and effectively by leveraging on-going Foreign Military Sales investments in F-16 modernisation."

Image: The F-16V version unveiled at Singapore Airshow in 2012. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin.