Lockheed Martin has been contracted to upgrade 84 Hellenic Air Force (HAF) F-16C/D Fighting Falcon combat aircraft to the latest F-16V Block 70/72 Viper standard, it was announced on 20 December. The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded the manufacturer a USD996.8 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract to perform the upgrade work at its Forth Worth facility in Texas. The award comes eight months after the Greek Ministry of Defence (MoD) gave final approval for upgrades to 85 of its 154 F-16C/D Block 52+ and Block 52+ Advanced aircraft with the goal of extending their service lives through to 2048.
While the HAF’s earlier F-16C/D Block 30 and Block 50 aircraft are not included, they are expected to receive equipment donated from the upgraded platforms. Lockheed Martin’s partnership with Greece spans more than 70 years.Hellenic Air Force (HAF) F-16V upgrades will deliver a significant increase in capability for the HAF combat aircraft fleet at a fraction of the cost of procuring new aircraft, enabling the HAF to stay ahead of emerging threats. HAF F-16Vs will be the most advanced F-16s in Europe. Lockheed Martin has partnered with Greece on numerous military programs, including the F-16, C-130 and P-3, and remains committed to investing in Greece’s future.
The F-16V configuration is unique to Lockheed Martin, the F-16 original equipment manufacturer, which retains exclusive data rights, knowledge and expertise to affordably modernize the aircraft design. As the most advanced variant of the F-16 available today, the F-16V (known as the Block 70/72 in its new-build guise) features the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar (derived from the F-16E/F Block 60 AN/APG-80 and also known as the Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR)), a new Raytheon mission computer, the Link 16 datalink, modern cockpit displays, an enhanced electronic warfare system, and a ground-collision avoidance system.
The F-16V upgrade for the HAF will be performed at Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI), bringing valuable jobs and investment to Greece. The upgrade of the 85 warplanes to Vipers “will provide the Hellenic (Greek) Air Force with an entirely new aircraft, as the only element we shall keep is the fuselage. The upgraded F-16s will keep the armaments balance in the region in light of Turkey’s orders for F-35s. However, he noted, the F-16 is not a stealth aircraft like the F-35.