Turkey has issued a new request for proposals (RFP) for an avionics modernisation of its Northrop F-5s. A separate, but interdependent F-5 structural upgrade, to be performed by the Turkish air force and local industry, makes up the remainder of a programme to update 48 F-5s as lead-in trainers for the country's growing fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16C/Ds.

Avionics bidders must submit proposals to the Turkish defence ministry's Under-secretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) by 16 December. A shortlist is expected, to be announced in January or February 1997, and a winner selected as early as June in that year. Four versions of the F-5, will be covered by the programme: 20 F-5As, eight F-5Bs, 14 Dutch-built NF-5As and six NF-5Bs.

Turkey issued an RFP for a structural and avionics upgrades of 60 F-5s in May 1993, but budget uncertainties put the programme on indefinite hold, and proposals were never formally evaluated. A 1995 plan to finance F-5 upgrades by selling other updated F-5s did not materialise. The status of financing for this latest programme is not known.

Prototype development and serial modernisation are to be conducted at the air force's Eskisehir maintenance centre. The winning bidder, with a Turkish engineering team, will install F-16C/D-like avionics sequentially on F-5B, NF-5B, F-5A and NF-5A prototypes; build a system-integration laboratory (SIL) at Eskisehir; and co-ordinate avionics modernisation with the structural refurbishment to be conducted by Turkish Aircraft Industries.

SSM wants significant technology transfer in the form of software source code for the operational flight programme, SIL and avionics units. The air force plans to test-fly other F-5s already upgraded by the bidders.

The RFP calls for upgrade kits for 48 aircraft to be delivered within 36 months of contract award, for installation at Eskisehir. One avionics-familiarisation trainer is required.

Turkey wants the cockpit to be as similar as possible to that of the F-16C/D. Equipment required includes 1553B databus, mission computer, head-up display, multifunction display, inertial-navigation/global-positioning system, air-data computer, data-transfer and video-recorder systems.

Source: Flight International