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US clears sale of IFF, Link 16 kits for South Korean F-16 fighter upgrade

Republic of Korea Air Force file photo of an F-16 fighter

The US state department has approved a potential sale of Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) and Link 16 Tactical Datalink (TDL) systems to the Republic of Korea for the upgrade of the country’s F-16 Block 32 fighter jets.

The contract for the systems and associated equipment has an estimated value of $194 million.

The prime contractor would be Lockheed Martin, who would be responsible for delivering the systems for the F-16 fleet which started entering Republic of Korea Air Force service in late 1990s.

“The Republic of Korea is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and a key partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in the region,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release.

“The proposed sale will improve the Republic of Korea’s capability to meet current and future threats by increasing its interoperability with US Air Force and other coalition forces through an improved datalink and Mode 5 IFF, producing a more effective alliance for its F-16 fleet.”

Lockheed Martin’s medium extended air defense system (MEADS) Mode 5 identification friend or foe (IFF) subsystem enhances safety of allied aircrews engaged in combat operations by helping discriminate between friend and foe. Link 16 is a military data link that networks communication between land, sea, and air assets.