The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of Phase 1 upgrades of the KF-16C/D Block 52 aircraft and associated equipment to the Republic of Korea.
Under the estimated $200m sale, South Korea has requested for a Phase 1 upgrade of a total of 134 KF-16C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft in a potential two-phased process.
The Phase 1 comprises the sale of US Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services in support of the initial design and development for the overall modernisation programme.
In addition to detailing design requirements for computers, displays, sensors and weapons, system design and pilot-vehicle interface efforts, the phase 1 also includes initiation of software design and development, engineering installation design (Group A), construction of an avionics systems integration facility and test stations.
Additional activities include development of long-lead items, preparation of reports, analysis and presentations to support system requirements and preliminary design reviews, and briefing on support and training requirements.
If implemented, Phase 2 will relate to the KF-16C/D aircraft modernisation with advanced radar and upgraded avionics, for which a subsequent notification will be prepared.
The potential sale is expected to offer South Korea a design and development plan for enhancement of its KF-16 fleet capabilities, in order to continue to deter regional threats and strengthen homeland defence.
The upgraded KF-16 fighters, if Phase 2 is implemented, will contribute to the South Korea’s goal to develop a more capable defence force and enhance interoperability with US forces.
The sale also contributes to the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the US by addressing the legitimate security and defence requirements of South Korea, which continues to serve as an important force for peace, political stability and economic progress in north-east Asia.
BAE Systems Technology Solution & Services will serve as prime contractor for the FMS programme.
Image: Two Republic of Korea Air Force’s KF-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft take off from Kunsan Air Base in South Korea. Photo: courtesy of USAF Senior Airman Gustavo Gonzalez.