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Upgrades will extend life of Omani F-16s

Posted 5 July 2018 · Add Comment

Although it is now taking delivery of a squadron’s worth of Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role strike fighters, the Royal Air Force of Oman will continue to rely on its force of 23 F-156 Fighting Falcons for many years.

To ensure that these aircraft remain viable, it is pursuing a number of upgrades aimed at enhancing interoperability and improving operational capabilities.
Oman took delivery of eight single-seat Block 50 F-16Cs and four two-seat F-16Ds in 2005-6 under the Peace A’sama A’safiya I programme. Ten more F-16Cs and two F-16Ds followed in 2014 under Peace A’sama A’safiya II.
One of the initial batch of F-16Cs was lost in a fatal crash on September 22 2013.
The aircraft are powered by General Electric F110-GE-129 engines and feature AN/APG-68(V)XM radars – the most powerful hardware package available when they were bought.
The aircraft are armed with AIM-120C AMRAAM and AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, AGM-65D/G Maverick air-to-surface missiles, AGM-84D Harpoon anti-ship missiles, enhanced GBU-10 and enhanced GBU-12 500lb laser-guided bombs, GBU-31(v)3/B JDAMs, and CBU-97/105 sensor fused weapons.
Finally, four Goodrich (now UTAS) DB-110 airborne reconnaissance system pods were supplied, giving a full spectrum multi-role capability.
The aircraft were supplied with Sniper targeting pods with terrain following radar, and these have since been augmented by a small number of advanced Pantera pods.
In January 2018, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that the State Department had approved a $62 million foreign military sale of electronic warfare and communications equipment for Oman’s F-16 fleet, including Mode 5 identification friend or foe (IFF) and secure communications equipment, as well as an incremental operational flight profile (OFP) and joint mission planning software upgrade.
The new IFF equipment comprises 29 KIV-78 cryptographic/timing modules, 29 KY-100M cryptographic radio encryptors, and 29 AN/APX-126 combined interrogator transponders. These will help Omani F-16 pilots to gain better interoperability with US and other allied platforms, including the new Omani Typhoons, using mode 5 IFF instead of Mode 4. 

 

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