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Current F-16 Developments

AN/AWW-14(V)

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This is an abbreviated version of the Aviation Week & Space Technology article “USAF Death Claw Shows New Way To Speed Development”, which describes the full details of issues faced with the F-16’s capabilities, how Death Claw aims to address these issues, and industry insights into the system.

A 40-year-old idea to improve strafing accuracy by transferring flight control of a manned fighter to the autopilot to aim the gun is being revived as the U.S. Air Force looks internally for innovations that can be demonstrated and delivered quickly. An operational version of the Digitally Enhanced Aiming Through Control Law (Death Claw) system is in development less than two years after the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School conceived and performed an eight-month demonstration.

In effect, Death Claw has two functions. As a new automated flight mode, it solves a practical problem for pilots of F-16s and potentially other fly-by-wire fighters. The system also highlights a path to introducing aircraft upgrades faster by involving the test community up front. Adding an “auto-gunnery mode” to the flight control law, and allow the autopilot control to point the aircraft when the gun is engaged. Bill Gray, chief test pilot of the test pilot school, launched a demonstration program in late 2017 to prove it could work.

The test pilot school owns the F-16 Variable stability Inflight Simulator Test Aircraft (VISTA), an aircraft specially modified to allow inflight changes to the flying qualities. “I realized it would be a relatively simple modification to adjust the control of that airplane to actually test this to do the concept exploration,” he says.

As much as the Air Force pushes to accelerate development, the question still remains how much schedule compression is possible during the test-and-evaluation phase.

In the case of Death Claw, the test pilot school used a live demonstration to prove a basic autopilot capability. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works is now working on an improved operational version of the new autopilot gunnery mode, but the Air Force collected the data it needed to make a decision with a rudimentary system created within four months in 2017. The test community also now has experience with the technology, which could help focus the follow-on test schedule.

 

Grey Havoc

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BAe Test Pilot Keith Hartley undertaking not everyday’s test flight in 1988. This “cockpit habitability test” purpose was to evaluate if the Tornado pilot could operate efficiently after the departure of the canopy at speeds up to 500 knots.

He made it look so damn cool and easy.

 

Wyvern

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Great find! Imagine what it must have been like to be that pilot.

Also, does anyone have any information on the PANNAP (Panavia New Aircraft Project)? From the information given in Tony Buttler's "British Secret Projects 2: Jet Bombers Since 1949", these projects were made up of trainers, strike and air-superiority fighters. Does anybody have any documents or drawings on this type? Was the Panavia 100 related to it?

Thanks in advance,

Wyvern
 

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Lockheed Martin is currently offering India a highly improved variant of the F-16 called the F-21 for their MRCA program.
 

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Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $62,000,000,000 ten-year contract for new production of F-16 Foreign Military Sale (FMS) aircraft. The total value for the initial delivery order is $4,941,105,246 and will be awarded on the same date. The initial delivery order is for 90 aircraft. Work will be primarily performed in Greenville, South Carolina; and Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed Dec. 31, 2026. This contract involves 100% FMS to FMS partner nations and is the result of a sole-source acquisition.


in 1993 Lockheed acquired the production line of the F-16 from General Dynamics for only $ 1.53 billion (about $ 3 billion today)
 
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Another kill for the combo Viper/Amraam ? Probably some here have more fresh news.
An Armenian defence ministry spokeswoman said the Armenian Sukhoi Su-25 warplane had been on a military assignment when it was downed by an F-16 fighter jet owned by the Turkish air force.
 

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Lockheed Martin on Nov. 17 unveiled a miniaturized infrared search and track (IRST) sensor with an embedded processor for the F-16 Block 70/72 series.

The Legion-Embedded System (ES) pod has been ordered by an undisclosed F-16 Block 70/72 customer and is available for delivery to new operators starting in 2023, said Jim Ni, Lockheed’s IRST21 program manager.

The first deliveries of a newly built F-16 Block 70 are scheduled in 2021 to the Royal Bahraini Air Force. Taiwan, Slovakia, and Bulgaria also have scheduled F-16 Block 70 deliveries, while Morocco has ordered F-16 Block 72s.

The Legion-ES repackages the long-wave sensor developed for the Legion pod and IRST21. The computer processor is integrated into the F-16’s forward equipment bay.

As a result, the 300-lb., 77-in.-long Legion-ES pod on the left-underside of the forward fuselage is significantly lighter and smaller than Lockheed’s other, fully podded IRST systems, Ni said.

Although the pod is tucked beneath the fuselage, the field of view of the sensor is not obstructed at the ranges anticipated for IRST detection of hostile aircraft, Ni said.

Lockheed developed the full-size Legion pod to integrate on the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of F-16 Block 40/42/50/52 jets.

The Legion pod is significantly larger than the Legion-ES because it is designed with growth to carry other systems, such as a communications relay or other sensors. The processor for the full-size Legion pod also is integrated on the pod itself, rather than inside the forward equipment bay.

Lockheed miniaturized and consolidated electronics in the forward equipment bay of the F-16 Block 70/72 series. The extra room created space to house the processor for the Legion-ES, Ni said.

 

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The Air Force’s F-16 System Program Office within the Fighters and Advanced Aircraft Directorate has awarded a $900 million F-16 Continental United States (CONUS) Depot contract to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, with twelve dock spaces in their Lockheed Martin Greenville Operations facility located in Greenville, S.C., will provide depot level maintenance and modernization support, establishing the first ever U.S. based F-16 industry depot to support the government-owned depot facilities. There are currently two overseas F-16 contract depots, one in Europe and the other in the Pacific.

 

perttime

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...

A 40-year-old idea to improve strafing accuracy by transferring flight control of a manned fighter to the autopilot to aim the gun is being revived as the U.S. Air Force looks internally for innovations ...

That reminds me of a feature that SAAB Gripen, apparently, has:
"The internally mounted 27mm Mauser high-energy gun can operate in an automatic radar-guided aiming mode."
https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/gripen/
 

kcran567

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previous thread,

The new f-16 fly by wire system is different, but the early system on the f-15 worked great

(IFFC) integrated fire and flight control, tested long time ago on f-15 (Low Observable mentioned it)

worked really good on the f-15, and at high closing speeds that a pilot could not possibly manually aim.

Why not used years ago?

Gripen already using it operationally.
 

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Canadian aggressor company Top ACE gets approval for suspected Israeli F-16A fleet:
Update from Janes:
 

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Nice one. Those aircraft once definitely retired will be money makers in the hands of US museums, and who knows, private individuals. Great catch.
 
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Archibald

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Are they the oldest Israeli F-16s ? if so, some of them probably bombed Osirak back in June 1981. Plus the Bekaa the next year. So yes, when they will retire, everybody will want one...
 

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So civilians can buy f-16s? that must be like owning a formula one that can fly!
 

jsport

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This is an abbreviated version of the Aviation Week & Space Technology article “USAF Death Claw Shows New Way To Speed Development”, which describes the full details of issues faced with the F-16’s capabilities, how Death Claw aims to address these issues, and industry insights into the system.

A 40-year-old idea to improve strafing accuracy by transferring flight control of a manned fighter to the autopilot to aim the gun is being revived as the U.S. Air Force looks internally for innovations that can be demonstrated and delivered quickly. An operational version of the Digitally Enhanced Aiming Through Control Law (Death Claw) system is in development less than two years after the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School conceived and performed an eight-month demonstration.

In effect, Death Claw has two functions. As a new automated flight mode, it solves a practical problem for pilots of F-16s and potentially other fly-by-wire fighters. The system also highlights a path to introducing aircraft upgrades faster by involving the test community up front. Adding an “auto-gunnery mode” to the flight control law, and allow the autopilot control to point the aircraft when the gun is engaged. Bill Gray, chief test pilot of the test pilot school, launched a demonstration program in late 2017 to prove it could work.

The test pilot school owns the F-16 Variable stability Inflight Simulator Test Aircraft (VISTA), an aircraft specially modified to allow inflight changes to the flying qualities. “I realized it would be a relatively simple modification to adjust the control of that airplane to actually test this to do the concept exploration,” he says.

As much as the Air Force pushes to accelerate development, the question still remains how much schedule compression is possible during the test-and-evaluation phase.

In the case of Death Claw, the test pilot school used a live demonstration to prove a basic autopilot capability. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works is now working on an improved operational version of the new autopilot gunnery mode, but the Air Force collected the data it needed to make a decision with a rudimentary system created within four months in 2017. The test community also now has experience with the technology, which could help focus the follow-on test schedule.

 

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F-16 belonging to the USAFE in Europe will still be maintained and upgraded in Belgium by Sabca:
 
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L3Harris Technologies has been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin for development of a new advanced electronic warfare system to protect the international F-16 multirole fighter aircraft against emerging radar and electronic threats.

L3Harris designed Viper Shield to provide U.S. and global coalition partners with cutting-edge countermeasures against sophisticated, ever-changing threats. The baseline version is integrated into the aircraft fuselage, saving space for additional capability such as a fuel pod that could be attached externally to increase mission range.

 

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The Norwegian Defence Material Agency (NDMA) has contracted Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services (KAMS) to maintain a number of Luftforsvaret (RNoAF, Royal Norwegian Air Force) F-16 Fighting Falcons that have been taken out of active service and make them ready for commercial re-sale.

The contract initially applies for two F-16s, with an option to overhaul up to three additional aircraft. The work on the F-16s will take place at KAMS’ facilities at Kjeller, near Oslo, and if the option is exercised the last three aircraft are expected to be ready by the end of 2021. The fighters will be returned to operating status and then maintained so that they are ready for service again. KAMS has 40 years of experience in maintaining, repairing and upgrading Norway’s F-16 fleet.
 

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More than a Lightning but a Rainbow:

1620202097954.png

 

Foo Fighter

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I suspect he has already been there and back. Cluseau stylee perhaps.
 

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[USAF] on Monday announced a contract for the production of 128 Block 70/72 jets, the latest and most advanced version of the venerable fourth-generation fighter, on behalf of Bahrain, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Taiwan and Morocco.
[...]
The service will simultaneously work to upgrade more than 400 aging F-16s for four partner nations to the new "F-16V" configuration, which includes the APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array, or AESA, radars.

 

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L3Harris Technologies has been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin for development of a new advanced electronic warfare system to protect the international F-16 multirole fighter aircraft against emerging radar and electronic threats.

L3Harris designed Viper Shield to provide U.S. and global coalition partners with cutting-edge countermeasures against sophisticated, ever-changing threats. The baseline version is integrated into the aircraft fuselage, saving space for additional capability such as a fuel pod that could be attached externally to increase mission range.

So Viper Shield compete with AN/ALQ-211 and AN/ALQ-213 in the export Block 70/72 market soon enough. I'm curious if the US gov. will, just like DEWS (for export) and EPAWSS (use in USAF alongside clearance to key allies like Japan), only clear the export of Viper Shield to allied nations?

Also, if I'm right, Viper Shield is the second Fighting Falcon/Viper EW Suite to get an actual nickname after the Falcon Edge for the Block 60. newer 211 was named AIDEWS, which I'm not sure if I'll call it a nickname. Then DEWS and EPAWSS ain't no nicknames either...
 

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EPAWSS is not for export as much as we can guess. It's a different EW suites integrated with all US systems, including F-35s.
But I agree that key allies like Japan might get the opportunity since they are already cleared for the F-35.
 

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