Lockheed Martin is to upgrade the Republic of Korea Air Force's (ROKAF) F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft fleet, under a $1.2bn contract.

Under the foreign military sales contract issued by the US Air Force, ROKAF's 134 F-16 aircraft will receive upgrades based on the advanced F-16V configuration.

The planned upgrades include an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, a large-format, high-resolution centre pedestal display and a high-volume and high-speed data bus.

Lockheed Martin F-16 programme vice-president Susan Ouzts said: "We truly appreciate the trust and confidence the Republic of Korea has placed in us with this contract.

"These upgrades are a critical piece of South Korea's national defence and highlight Lockheed Martin's commitment to the full lifecycle of the F-16, from production to through-life sustainment."

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Lockheed is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and design authority of the F-16 and uniquely qualified to design, engineer, develop, integrate and sustain a complete F-16 weapons system solution tailored to customer requirements.

"We truly appreciate the trust and confidence the Republic of Korea has placed in us with this contract."

The aircraft is capable of carrying a wide range of air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles.

Powered by either General Electric F110-GE-129 or Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-229 engine, the F-16 is capable of withstanding higher g-forces than the pilots.

To date, more than 4,570 F-16s have been delivered to customers worldwide.

The combat-proven multi-role fighter currently serves as the workhorse of the fighter fleet for 25 nations worldwide.

Image: Republic of Korea Air Force F-16. Photo: courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com.