Chile sets to upgrade F-16 fleet

WASHINGTON (GDC) – The State Department has approved a Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Chile of equipment and related services for F-16 Modernization for an estimated cost of $634.70 million. 

The Government of Chile has requested to buy equipment and related services for F-16 Modernization to include:  nineteen Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS); six inert MK-82 (500LB) general purpose bomb bodies; two MXU-650KB Air Foil Groups (AFG); forty-four LN-260 Embedded GPS/INS (EGI); forty-nine Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radios (MIDS JTRS).  Also included are avionics and Mode 5 equipment and software upgrades, integration, and test; software and software support; ARC-238 Radios; Combined Altitude Radar Altimeters (CARA); Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) support; Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) AN/APX-126 Combined Interrogator Transponders, cryptographic appliques, keying equipment, and encryption devices; weapon system spares and support; bomb components; High-Bandwidth Compact Telemetry Modules (HCTMs); secure communications and precision navigation equipment; aircraft displays; additional spare and repair/return parts; integration and test equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support. 

The proposed sale will improve Chile’s capability to meet current and future threats by modernizing its F-16 fleet, which will allow Chile to maintain sovereignty and homeland defense, increase interoperability with the United States and other partners, and deter potential adversaries. The principal contractor, Lockheed Martin will implement the contract. 

The Chilean Air Force is also planning to upgrade its fleet of 46 F-16 fighters to keep the aircraft up-to-date through the 2030s, according to Jane’s.

The plan, set to be launched between 2018 and 2021, aims to fit Chile’s F-16s with a new mission electronics package built around a synthetic aperture, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

A new mission planning and management system, new Electronic Countermeasures (ECM)/Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system, and upgrades in the cockpit would also be included.

The Jane’s report, citing military sources, suggest the studies are also considering increasing the number of Block 50 aircraft, adding six to eight to the current fleet of 10 Block 50s; and how many of the 36 mid-life upgrade second-hand aircraft bought from the Netherlands would be upgraded.

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