LOCKHEED MARTIN was awarded a $67.7 million long-lead contract on July 19 to begin development for the Peace Onyx III upgrade programme for the Turkish Air Force’s F-16C/D fleet, for which a Letter of Offer and Acceptance was formally signed earlier this year.
Work on this initial phase is scheduled for completion by July 2006, after which the main contract is due to be awarded, with Lockheed Martin’s total contract share amounting to some $800 million.
The programme will upgrade 117 aircraft, Lockheed Martin providing kits for 37 F-16 Block 30s, four Block 40s and 76 Block 50s. The deal includes an option for 100 more Block 40 kits, for installation in Turkey by TUSAS Aerospace Industries under a separate agreement. Modification kit trial verification installation will begin in early 2007 and continue for two years, with flight tests from early 2009, also continuing for a further two years. Initial operational capability is expected to be achieved by the Turkish Air Force in 2011.
Although an upgraded version of the Self-Protection Electronic Warfare System (SPEWS II) forms part of the upgrade, acquisition of the SPEWS II hardware and installation beyond the lead-the-fleet kits (that is, those for installation validation and flight testing) will be subject to a separate contract.
Lockheed Martin also notes that acquisition of the APG-68(V)9 multimode radar upgrade kits beyond those required for development integration testing is not currently planned.