F-16 jets

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has selected Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) to modernise its Lockheed Martin-built 134 KF-16C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon aircraft fleet.

Selected after competing against Northrop Grumman, the company will now design, develop, test and deliver a total of 134 active electronically scanned array radar (AESA) systems, subject to final definition by the US government.

Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems business International Strategy and Business Development vice president Jim Hvizd said the radar complements and uses the company’s F-16 avionics expertise to offer the lowest risk, and most affordable and reliable AESA retrofit solution.

"This experience has directly contributed to the ease of installation and performance that continues to exceed customer needs," Hvizd added.

Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems president Rick Yuse said: "This win ensures the Republic of Korea’s KF-16 combat aircraft remain relevant in a constantly evolving threat environment and builds on our legacy of providing enhanced combat capabilities for global allied forces."

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Northrop had offered its scalable agile beam radar for the upgrade programme, which is designed to extend the aircraft’s detection range to twice the existing range, enabling simultaneous detection and tracking of multiple targets.

With the latest selection, the F-16 aircraft joins the family of fighters equipped with Raytheon’s AESA-based radars, including F-15C, F-15E and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

The company has already supplied mission-critical avionics systems, such as the modular mission computer, electronic warfare systems, and various weapons for installation in the F-16 fighter jet.

Powered by F100-PW-229 engines, the KF-16 is a Korean version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and was built by Korean Aerospace Industries under license from its manufacturer in the 1990s.

Contract deliveries are expected to commence in late 2016.

Image: Two Republic of Korea Air Force’s F-16C Fighting Falcons conducting flight over Kunsan air base in Korea. Photo: Courtesy of US Air Force / taken by Master Sgt. Jack Braden.

Defence Technology