Lockheed Martin is to offer the Elta El/2032 multi-mode pulse-Doppler radar as part of its F-16 bid for the Israeli air force's $2 billion fighter-procurement competition.
The Israeli air force, say sources close to the competition, has made it clear that installing the El/2032 on the F-16 is a priority requirement in any future Fighting Falcon purchase. The Israelis fit the Westinghouse APG-68 in their F-16s
An indigenous, rather than a US-supplied radar, will give the service ready access to object and source codes, making the integration of Israeli-specific weapons considerably easier. This could include weapons such as the still-classified MBT/Rafael Alto/Derby active-radar-guided beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.
Lockheed Martin is competing with Boeing, which is offering the F-15I variant of the F-15E for the Israel requirement.
Sources close to the procurement, however, indicate that the result of the competition is likely to reflect the air force's desire for additional numbers of both types. The service is looking at a "mixed procurement", with a final decision expected to be taken by the third quarter of this year, they say.
Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) is expected to begin the integration of the El/2032, originally developed for the cancelled IAI Lavi fighter, in the next few months. The demonstrator will be used to promote an overall upgrade for the Israeli air force's in-service F-16s.
Boeing and Lockheed Martin are widening their co-operation with the Israeli defence industries as part of the competition. Mickey Blackwell, president of Lockheed Martin's aeronautics sector announced greater co-operation with IAI and Elbit during a recent visit to Israel.
The first two Boeing F-15I "Thunder" aircraft were flown to the Hazerim air base in Israel on 19 January. The remaining 23 F-15Is will be delivered before the end of the year.