The US Air Force has chosen Raytheon to develop upgraded modular mission computers for its F-16s, bringing the Fighting Falcon to the V configuration.
The updated computers could bring the Lockheed Martin F-16 to the brink of fifth-generation fighting, according to Raytheon. The new MMCU holds twice the processing power of the legacy computer and 40 times its current memory, the company says in a 16 December statement.
Raytheon leveraged commercial technology for the MMCU and says the system could lay the foundation for new sensors and weapons. That could help the F-16 eke out a few more years of technological relevance while the USAF waits for full operational capability on Lockheed’s F-35.
"The brain of the F-16, this mission computer can process more information faster, allowing the pilot to put weapons on targets with greater reliability,” Josh Cobbs, program manager, electronic warfare Systems for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems says in a statement.
The USAF is not the only air force receiving the upgraded computer system on the F-16. In 2011, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) opened the possibility of a $5.3 billion upgrade to the F-16V configuration, which included updated computers. However, the DSCA release did not identify the manufacturer for the Taiwanese’ air force’s computers.