The US Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $53.2 million contract modification for work on the refit and upgrade of Taiwan’s F-16 fighter aircraft fleet.
The contract follows an earlier one, worth $32.9 million, that was awarded to the company in January this year.
Taiwan’s upgrade of the F-16s is also referred to as the Phoenix Rising Project and is expected to cost up to $5.3 billion with a completion date of 2023. The upgrade is led by Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC).
Pentagon’s contract announcement from November 5 indicates that Lockheed is to deliver hardware and equipment for 50 of the over 140 F-16 aircraft flown by the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF).
In addition to upgrading the F-16A/B Block 20s to the F-16V standard, the country is also buying 66 new F-16V airframes. Lockheed Martin received a framework $64 billion contract for the deliveries in August this year.
The F-16V configuration incorporates an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, a large-format, high-resolution display; and a high-volume, high-speed data bus. According to Lockheed Martin, operational capabilities are enhanced through a Link-16 Theater Data Link, Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod, advanced weapons, precision GPS navigation, and the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS).