According to Jane’s the US Air Force (USAF) has decided to augment the number of aircraft and additional airframe hours to be included in a planned service-life extension programme (SLEP) of its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcon multi-role fighter jets.
As we have previously reported Lockheed Martin announced on Apr. 12, 2017 that USAF had authorized the extend of the designed service life of the F-16 Block 42-52 aircraft to 12,000 Equivalent Flight Hours adding 4,000 more hours to the aircraft’s original design service life of 8,000 hours.
But a notice posted by the service on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website on Jun. 12 announced that these numbers are now to grow to 841 aircraft and 13,856 hours.
“The F-16 USAF SLEP intends to extend the aircraft’s current structural service life from 8,000 equivalent flight hours (EFH) up to 13,856 EFH by modifying and/or repairing life limiting, fractural critical, and safety of flight critical structure. This effort seeks to award a contract to a vendor who can manufacture and/or procure, assemble, and deliver up to the estimated maximum quantity of 841 F-16 Block 40-52, C/D-Model SLEP modification kits necessary to extend the structural service life of these aircraft, in accordance with Government standards and specifications defined in the Technical Data Package (TDP),” the notice said.
Noteworthy the SLEP is aimed not only to extend the service life of USAF F-16C/D fleet, but also to ensure the aircraft can safely and effectively augment the current fighter force structure as U.S. and allied combat air fleets recapitalize with F-35 Lightning IIs.
According to Lockheed Martin, having served with 28 customers around the world the Viper remains the world’s most successful, combat-proven multi-role fighter aircraft. Actually the F-16V, the latest F-16 avionics upgrade configuration, includes numerous enhancements designed to keep the F-16 at the forefront of international security, while the F-16 Block 70/72, the newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration, combines capability and structural upgrades into the most advanced F-16 production aircraft ever offered.
Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Drew A. Egnoske / U.S. Air National Guard and Senior Airman Solomon Cook / U.S. Air Force
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
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