South Korea appears ready to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a long awaited programme to upgrade its Lockheed Martin/Korea Aerospace Industries F-16C/D fighters.

The nation's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said it will issue the RFP on 16 September, at its Seoul office. The deadline for bids is 2 December 2011.

According to DAPA announcement 2011-16, companies qualified to attend the explanatory session on the 16th include Lockheed, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.

A major element of the upgrade would be the addition of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to Republic of Korea Air Force F-16s - known as the KF-16 in Korean service.

Raytheon is interested in providing Seoul with its Raytheon advanced combat radar, while Northrop aims to sell its scaleable agile beam radar.

Industry sources said the upgrade could provide a new mission computer and a common data link with US aircraft, as well as Seoul's own fleet of Boeing F-15K Slam Eagles.

Flightglobal's MiliCAS database lists the nation as having 118 F-16Cs and 51 two-seater F-16Ds.

Source: Flight International