Lockheed Martin Secures $177M Contract to Upgrade Chilean Air Force's F-16 Fleet

U.S. State Department approved $634M Chilean F-16 modernization FMS deal in July 2020
  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 07:13 AM, November 1, 2023
  • 675
Lockheed Martin Secures $177M Contract to Upgrade Chilean Air Force's F-16 Fleet
FACh F-16 jet

Lockheed Martin has clinched a contract worth $177 million to enhance the capabilities of the Chilean Air Force's F-16 fighter jet fleet.

The project, initiated by the F-16 Systems Program Office's Foreign Military Sales support, is dedicated to providing comprehensive assistance for the F-16 M6.6 Operational Flight Program and Systems Upgrade, tailored specifically for the Chilean Air Force or Fuerza Aérea de Chile (FACh).

Chile's air force has expressed its determination to modernize and extend the service life of its F-16 fleet, ensuring operational effectiveness until the year 2040.

The project is slated for completion by November 30, 2032.

This significant move follows the clearance granted by the U.S. State Department in July 2020 for Chile to acquire modernization upgrades for its F-16 aircraft. The anticipated cost of these enhancements is estimated to be around $634 million.

Chile currently operates a fleet of 44 F-16s, comprising 10 Block 50 models acquired in the early 2000s and 36 older models procured second-hand from the Netherlands. While the prospect of upgrading the existing F-16 fleet had been under consideration since 2017, detailed plans were yet to be disclosed. Additionally, analysts have speculated that Chile might also consider purchasing a limited number of new F-16s to complement its existing inventory.

The comprehensive upgrades covered under U.S.-approved prospective sale encompass an array of equipment, including 19 Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS), six inert MK-82 (500LB) general purpose bomb bodies, two MXU-650KB Air Foil Groups (AFG), 44 LN-260 Embedded GPS/INS (EGI), and 49 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radios (MIDS JTRS).

Moreover, the package incorporates avionics equipment and software enhancements, new radios, upgraded IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) transponders, secure communications equipment, and various other critical components.

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