ANKARA, Turkey — The Turkish Air Force hasreceived the last of a batch of F-16 fighter jets which underwent a comprehensive upgrade program.
Speaking at a ceremony here at the corporrate headquarters of Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Turkey's chief procurement official Ismail Demir said that the upgrade program substantially boosted Turkey's air combat power.
"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.
Turkish Air Force Commander Gen. eral Akin Ozturk said: "The F-16s are the backbone of our force. With the upgrade program, they feature the most advanced technology available. They give our force most efficient operational capabilities."
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 upgrade has created a common avionics configuration for the service's fleet of F-16 Block 40 and 50 aircraft. Systems integrated on Turkey's upgraded F-16s include:
• 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.
The deal was conducted under the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, with Lockheed Martin in Ft. Fort Worth, TX Texas, serving as principle contractor, although the actual modification of the aircraft was performed by TAI.