Bahrain Airshow: Lockheed bullish over F-16 upgrade plans
Rick Groesch, Lockheed Martin's regional director for the Middle East, was in bullish form at the show describing the company's F-16 upgrade plans.
A number of regional air forces still operate the F-16 Fighting Falcon, among them the Royal Bahraini Air Force.
Though a number of companies are offering upgrades for the F-16, Groesch, himself a former F-16 and F-117 pilot, was keen to stress the unique advantages that Lockheed, as the original manufacturer, was able to offer.
The company has already delivered 1,000 upgrade kits, and has the laboratories, engineers and proprietary information that allows it to offer real service life improvements, as well as avionics and systems upgrades that enhance the aircraft’s capabilities, he explained.
Lockheed can also offer upgrades that are precisely tailored to customer requirements, while still maintaining the advantages of a common core upgrade, with shared development giving low-cost and common support.
When fitted with a modern AESA radar like Northrop Grumman’s scalable agile beam radar (SABR), Groesch claimed the Block 60 F-16 is a match for any other fourth generation multi-role fighter.
The Block 60 F-16E/F Desert Falcon, used by Bahrain, remains available, despite its highly advanced systems and sensors, which some analysts have suggested would fall foul of today’s more stringent ITAR and technology transfer restrictions.