TAIPEI — BAE Systems confirmed Aug. 6 that South Korea has selected the company to perform an upgrade to the avionics and electronics systems for its fleet of 130 KF-16 Block 52 fighters.
South Korea has not yet delivered the Letter of Request for BAE to be the sole source systems integration contractor, but the letter is expected shortly. The work will be contracted through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Foreign Military Sales program.
BAE Systems will perform a range of services, including systems engineering and integration, software and electronics engineering, obsolescence management, and logistics support. The work will be performed primarily at BAE Systems’ facilities in Florida, Georgia and Texas.
“This is a strategic international win for us, significantly expanding our aircraft upgrade and modification business,” said Dave Herr, president of BAE Systems Support Solutions. “We have extensive capabilities that span across BAE Systems, and I am confident that our team offers the best value to the customer.”
“This selection further demonstrates that we are a leading provider of integration, avionics and mission computers for F-16s, and we will continue to offer our capability to customers across the globe,” said Gordon Eldridge, vice president and general manager of Support Solutions’ Aerospace Solutions business area.
The total estimated addressable market for F-16 avionics upgrades is valued at greater than $3 billion internationally, covering more than 3,000 aircraft. BAE Systems supports 270 of the U.S. Air National Guard’s upgraded F-16s and 50 of the Turkish Air Force’s upgraded F-16s.
The company is now focusing on securing the upgrade contract for Taiwan’s 146 F-16A/B Block 20 fighters. BAE will be engaging Lockheed Martin for the contract valued at $3.7 billion.
Lockheed appears to have a strong lead in winning the competition. The company has a long relationship with Taiwan’s state-run Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) and Taiwan’s Air Force. AIDC and Lockheed signed a memorandum of understanding July 11 to form a strategic partnership to facilitate the F-16 upgrade program.