US Signs Off On ROK F-16 Upgrade Deal

The US State Department approved a potential foreign military sale to South Korea on July 14 for the KF-16 upgrade program, a potential $2.5-billion effort that will modernize some 134 KF-16s in the Republic of Korea Air Force inventory with modern active electronically scanned array radars and other components. The principal contractors on the deal are Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. The proposed sale will enhance interoperability between ROKAF and US forces, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, ensuring the ROK builds on its “strong and ready self defense capability.” In addition to some 150 AESA radar sets, the deal includes 150 AN/APX-125 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe systems, 150 embedded GPS inertial navigation systems, 150 radar warning receivers, 150 electronic warfare management units, three joint helmet mounted cueing system “group C” helmets, and 150 JHMCS “group A and B” helmets. The deal also includes a host of weapons and weapons kits, such as five GBU-54 Laser JDAMs, GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs and test bombs, ATM-65 Maverick training missiles, among others. The deal comes less than a year after South Korea terminated a $140-?million development deal with BAE Systems in November 2014 to develop upgrades for the KF-16, prompting the contractor to sue when South Korea sought to recoup costs.