Hang Up Your CAPES

The only thing left of the Air Force’s planned F-16 omnibus upgrade—to include the Common Avionics Programmed Extension Suite, or CAPES—is a structural upgrade to extend the type’s service life from 8,000 to 10,000 hours, the Air Force’s top programmer said Tuesday. Maj. Gen. James Jones told reporters at the Pentagon the planned radar upgrade is gone, though “we would love to be able to continue that.” A processor upgrade has already been installed, but other improvements fell out of the budget; CAPES was one of the “hard choices” USAF made in its Fiscal 2015 budget, Jones said. Jones also noted that the Air Force plans to structurally extend only 65 aircraft during the next five years, adding that USAF has decided instead to focus on next-generation technology in the form of the F-35. Only the F-15 fleet will see some radar upgrades and other electronics enhancements. (See also Killing F-16 CAPES)