The first of 84 Greek Lockheed Martin’s F-16C/D fighting falcon combat aircraft upgraded to the latest F-16 Viper standard took its first test flight on January 17.
The minister of national defense of Greece, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos announced the news by saying that the maiden flight was conducted with “complete success” and the up-gradation program continues at an intensive pace.
The Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) has also announced the first successful test flight of the F-16 Viper and further said about the upgrade program. “It is noted that these upgrade works were carried out within the planned schedule, without any deviation.” According to the report published in the Janes news website.
“Hellenic Air Force (HAF) F-16V upgrades will deliver a significant increase in capability for the HAF combat aircraft fleet at a fraction of the cost of procuring new aircraft, enabling the HAF to stay ahead of emerging threats. HAF F-16Vs will be the most advanced F-16s in Europe”. Information published by Lockheed Martin about the upgrade program of F-16s on its website.
The Greek government has signed an agreement to pay $279.7 million to Lockheed Martin to modernize its 84 F-16 fighting falcons to the latest F-16V (viper) standard. The Hellenic Air Force has a fleet of some 150 F-16 fighter jets. The upgradation program was estimated to be completed by 2027.
The F-16 fighter had been upgraded at the Tanagra facility of Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI). Greece has a total of 90 Block 52/52+ F-16 aircraft.
The upgraded version of F-16 is now named F-16V in Block 72 configuration. The key element of the modernization is the installation of the Northrop Grumman APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), a sensor with an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA).
The cockpit has a new center pedestal display. It is also compatible with the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) II. Other improvements include a new mission computer, enhanced electronic warfare capabilities, an automatic ground collision avoidance system, Link 16 datalink, and an advanced identification Friend Or Enemy (FOE) interrogator system.
Threat from Turkey:
The current upgradation program is one of the other efforts of the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) to recapitalize its combat fleet. The Greek parliament earlier this month approved the purchase of six new-build and 12 old French Dassault Rafales.
The Greek government also wrote a letter to the US government back in November 2020 in which they requested for 18-24 F-35A fighters, with a plea for delivery of aircraft in 2021. With the F-35 production accounted for until at least 2024, this would also dictate the acceptance of used aircraft if approved.
Partnership with Lockheed Martin:
Lockheed Martin’s partnership with the Greek government spans more than 70 years. This is accompanied by Lockheed Martin’s commitment to deliver advanced and cost-effective solutions to the Greek government.
According to the data provided by Lockheed Martin on its website, Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) is currently performing work in partnership with Lockheed Martin in Greece on different projects including F-16, C-130J, LM-100J, and P-3B programs. F-16V upgrade for the HAF will also be performed at HAI.
According to the reports and data available on the upgradation program, Greece took a good step forward to induct new weapon systems into its inventory and to strengthen its capabilities.
- Information provided by Lockheed Martin
- Article published in Ainonline news
- Article published in Janes news
- Article published in DW news