"We are not dreamers, but we have dreams" Demir said, referring to Turkey's own efforts to design, develop and produce an indigenous fighter jet.
In 2011, the Turkish and US governments signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for the $1.1 billion modernization of 117 Turkish Air Force F-16s to a common avionics configuration. December 2006 saw a $635.1 million contract under that framework issued to Lockeed Martin.
• The AN/APG-69(V)9 radar installed on new F-16 Advanced Block 50/52 aircraft
• Color cockpit displays
• The Modular Mission Computer and new avionics processors
• The Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS)
• The Link 16 datalink
• New identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) transponders
• AN/AVS-9 night-vision goggles
• Upgraded navigation systems; and BAE Systems' AN/ALQ-178(V)5+ electronic-warfare (EW) system, mounted internally, with radar-warning and jamming capabilities for aircraft self-protection
The aircraft were also modified to accept new missile systems of unspecified types; some potential candidates include the AIM-9X Sidewinder, AIM-120 AMRAAM, and MBDA Meteor.
Burak Ege Bekdil is a Turkey correspondent for Defense News. He has written for Hurriyet Daily News, and worked as Ankara bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires and CNBC-e television. He is also a fellow at the Middle East Forum and regularly writes for the Middle East Quarterly and Gatestone Institute.