Singapore Technologies Aerospace (ST Aero) is to flight test avionics intended for its Lockheed Martin F-16 Falcon One upgrade package on a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) single-seat aircraft.
The RSAF is not a prospective customer for the modification but has agreed to make the aircraft available for use as a technology demonstrator. ST Aero acting president Tay Kok Khiang says the demonstrator is expected to fly "late this year or early next".
The Falcon One upgrade is being developed by ST Aero in partnership with BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin, and incorporates an upgraded cockpit - which includes three 127 x 178mm (5 x 7in) multifunction colour displays - and an updated weapons delivery and navigation system. A new mission computer replaces three computers in the F-16A/B. Radar options to be offered are either a Fiar Grifo F-plus or a Northrop Grumman APG-66(V)2.
The partners are focusing on the demonstration phase and are not ready to offer the Falcon One for sale, according to Tay. "I don't think it's so geared to being a deliberate system for sale," he says.
"We don't want to start forecasting something which is a long-term possibility...the main focus is to develop a system which can go on the F-16 and do the technology demonstration," he says.
ST Aero faces competition from similar Israeli and US upgrades.The first Turkish Air Force Northrop F-5 upgraded by ST Aero in partnership with Elbit Systems has made its maiden flight. Four prototypes are due to participate in the test programme.
Source: Flight International