Meet the F-16V: The Most Technologically Advanced 4th Generation Fighter in the World
The Lockheed Martin F-16V is the latest and most advanced F-16 on the market today. The F-16V configuration includes numerous enhancements designed to keep the F-16 at the forefront of international security, strengthening its position as the world’s foremost combat-proven 4th Generation multi-role fighter aircraft.
The F-16V, an option for both new production F-16s and F-16 upgrades, is the next generation configuration that leverages a common worldwide sustainment infrastructure and provides significant capability improvements.
The F-16V provides advanced combat capabilities in a scalable and affordable package. The core of the F-16V configuration is an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, a large-format, high-resolution display; and a high-volume, high-speed data bus. Operational capabilities are enhanced through a Link-16 Theater Data Link, Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod, advanced weapons, precision GPS navigation, and the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS).
Advanced AESA Radar
Northrop Grumman’s advanced APG-83 AESA radar delivers greater situational awareness, flexibility and quicker all-weather targeting. The APG-83 provides pilots with unprecedented target area detail and digital map displays that can be tailored with slew and zoom features. The APG-83 provides F-16s with 5th Generation fighter radar capabilities by leveraging hardware and software commonality with F-22 and F-35 AESA radars.
The APG-83 AESA radar enables greater detection and tracking ranges, multiple target track (20-plus target tracks), high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) maps for all-environment precision strike, interleaved air-to-air and air-to-surface mode operations for improved situational awareness, operational effectiveness and survivability; and robust electronic protection for operations in dense radio frequency (RF) environments. The APG-83 also provides greater overall system reliability and availability—three to five times that of legacy MSCAN radars.
Enhanced Battlespace Awareness
Another key feature of the F-16V configuration is the new Center Pedestal Display (CPD), which provides critical tactical imagery to pilots on a high-resolution 6”x 8” screen. The high-resolution display allows Pilot to take full advantage of AESA and Targeting Pod data. The new CPD enables color moving maps, larger and easier to manage air-to-air Situation Displays, zoom functionality with the ability to switch information among displays, and digital display of Flight Instrument Data. The CPD is also compatible with the Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS).
F-16V Takes Flight
Lockheed Martin successfully completed the maiden flight of the F-16V on October 16, 2015, marking the first time an F-16 had flown with Northrop Grumman’s advanced APG-83 AESA radar. The new radar delivers a quantum leap in capability for the venerable F-16. Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 SABR AESA fire control radar provides 5th Generation air-to-air and air-to-ground radar capability. Northrop Grumman also provides AESA radars for the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.
Lockheed Martin is more than two years into development of the F-16V and is now in the flight test phase of the program. Customer interest in the F-16V remains strong, particularly now that the program is in its flight test phase—a key milestone for any fighter aircraft development program.
F-16 Durability Testing
Lockheed Martin also completed more than 27,000 hours of simulated flight time on an F-16C Block 50 aircraft and is now analyzing the data to determine the durability of the aircraft beyond its original design service life. The test data will be used to identify an extended, definitive flight hour limit for the venerable F-16 and demonstrate the safety and durability of the aircraft well beyond its original design service life.
The durability tests should provide even more confidence to current and potential new F-16 customers that the combat-proven F-16 will continue to play a crucial role in international security for years to come.
With more than 4,550 F-16s delivered to date, the F-16V is a natural step in the evolution of the world’s most successful 4th Generation fighter.