After a lengthy negotiating process, the South Korean government awarded a $1.2 billion contract to upgrade 134 Lockheed Martin F-16C/Ds to the F-16V standard, the US Department of Defense announced on 18 November.
The award comes more 16 months after the US State Department cleared South Korea to purchase the upgrade package, which includes the Northrop Grumman APG-81 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), new modular mission computers, upgraded electronic warfare suites and second generation joint helmet mounted cueing systems.
The finalized deal comes as a coup for Lockheed, which snatched the contract last year from BAE Systems and radar supplier, Raytheon, following a cost dispute. In 2012, BAE won the upgrade contract over original F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
But BAE’s true costs surprised Seoul, when the US government demanded an additional W500 billion ($473 million) and BAE asked for W300 billion.
Lockheed will upgrade one single-seat C-model and one twin-seat D model KF-16 to the latest version configuration, the F-16V, before moving onto the remaining 132 aircraft, FlightGlobal previously reported.
Those two fighters were delivered to the US after BAE’s selection fell through.