Next major Block 60 milestone will be a critical design review scheduled for the second quarter of next year

Lockheed Martin has completed the preliminary design review (PDR) of the F-16C/D Block 60 under development for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and will soon begin cutting metal for the first fighter.

General Electric, meanwhile, is near to running the first uprated F110-132 powerplant in preparation for the start of flight testing next year.

With completion of the PDR, the Block 60 aircraft remains on target to meet the schedule and performance commitments made to the UAE, says Lockheed Martin.


The first of three production aircraft earmarked for flight testing is due to fly in the last quarter of 2003 ahead of first delivery in the second quarter of 2004.

Some flight testing in support of the programme is underway using an F-16C testbed, including aerodynamic testing of the conformal fuel tanks and antenna arrangements. This will be expanded over the next 12 months to include the Honeywell flight controls and Northrop Grumman forward looking infrared system, which is partially recessed into the airframe.

Another F-16C will be employed initially to test the F110-132 engine from December 2002, with altitude qualification at the Arnold Engineering Development Centre already completed and performance qualification due to be finished shortly.

Northrop Grumman is to use its BAC One-Eleven testbed from the second half of next year to flight test the Block 60's APG-80 active-array radar.

Lockheed Martin plans to conduct a significant amount of development work using a system integration laboratory, which the company says will be up and running by mid-2002. The Block 60 will have a new avionics suite designed around a fibre-optic databus and three 130 x 180mm (5 x 7in) liquid crystal displays. An undisclosed number of the UAE's 80 F-16s will have a two-seatmissionised cockpit.

The next major milestone will be a critical design review set for the second quarter of next year.

Lockheed Martin says that 98% of the component suppliers have been finalised, with Smiths Aerospace selected to supply the standby flight instrument and associated solid-state magnetometer.

Source: Flight International