US F-16C fighter

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a foreign military sales (FMS) contract by the US for supply of its APG-68(V)9 airborne fire control radars to equip the F-16 fighter jets of Thailand, Iraq and Oman.

Under the $87.8m FMS contract, the company will deliver a total of 43 systems that includes six radar systems for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), 22 for the Iraqi Air Force (IQAF) and 15 radar systems for the Royal Air Force of Oman.

Northrop Grumman Global Systems Solutions vice president, Tim Winter, said the radar selection by the three countries reaffirms the company’s value and baseline position for all new F-16 production and F-16 avionics upgrades.

"The APG-68(V)9 radar’s operational performance, affordable acquisition cost, low sustainment cost and immediate availability has led 12 nations to procure almost 750 systems so far," said Winter.

Managed by the Aeronautical Systems Center, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, the contract is part of the US defence policy, aimed at enabling IQAF to independently take over sovereign air defence duties, apart from supporting foreign relations with the allies, Thailand and Oman.

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Deliveries under the contract are expected to be complete by March 2015.

The AN/APG-68(V)9 radar is an advanced capability system designed to allow more accurate engagement of air-to-air and air-to-surface threats at longer ranges compared to earlier versions of F-16 fire control radars.

Available as an easily-installed upgrade kit for the current F-16 aircraft, the radar also provides F-16s with autonomous 24-hour, all-weather precision strike capability, with a high-resolution synthetic aperture radar ground mapping mode, when combined with other weapon system improvements.

Image: A US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon during a flight in Iraq. Photo: courtesy of Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway.