The united Arab Emirates (UAE) will delay signing an order for 80 advanced Lockheed Martin F-16s until December because of a decision to re-run the competition for the electronic warfare (EW) system. A request for proposals is expected to be issued later this month to ITT/Litton, Lockheed Martin Sanders, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.

Originally, the UAE's Block 60 F-16s were to be equipped with an EW system comprising Litton's LR-100 radar warning receiver (RWR) and ITT's ALQ-211 suite of integrated radio frequency countermeasures (SIRFC). But problems with the release of software source code and escalating costs led to the UAE deciding to reopen the competition.

The requirements are more demanding. In a bid to reduce costs by increasing competition, companies will be invited to bid separately for the warning and jamming elements, as well as for the complete system. Lockheed Martin will conduct the contest for the UAE.

Litton will offer the private venture LR-100 RWR and team again with ITT to offer the LR-100/ SIRFC combination.

The UAE wants access to the EW system's source code so that it can program the equipment to handle new threats and upgrade it.

Dain Hancock, president of Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems, says that a US-UAE agreement on the fighter purchase, including release of the EW suite and the Northrop Grumman active-array Agile Beam Radar, is expected to be achieved by the end of this month.

Source: Flight International