F-16 E/F Block 60 Desert Falcon

In 1993, Lockheed bought out the Fort Worth division of General Dynamics, a move which was part of a series of corporate reshufflings that led to the merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta in 1995 to form “Lockheed Martin”. As a result, the “General Dynamics F-16” is now the “Lockheed Martin F-16”. Lockheed Martin acquired a valuable asset with the F-16 and has continued to refine the type. One of the features of a good combat aircraft is its suitability for improvement, and the F-16 has very much demonstrated this virtue. It is still being improved in the 21st century, with refinements incorporated in the latest variant, the F-16E/F “Block 60”.

At least part of the roots of the Block 60 F-16 were in a mid-1990s Lockheed Martin investigation of an “F-16ES (Extended Strategic)” variant for Israel. An F-16C that had been used as a GE F110 demonstrator was further modified as the F-16ES demonstrator, performing its first flight in November 1994 and conducting a series of test flights into early 1995.

The F-16ES demonstrator was fitted with large dummy “conformal fuel tanks (CFTs)” that fitted over the wing roots back to the tail, as well as FLIR camera blisters on the top and bottom of the nose. Production conformal fuel tanks were to give the F-16ES an unrefueled combat radius with warload of 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles). The test flights demonstrated that the tanks had surprisingly little impact on the aircraft’s handling.

* The Israelis opted for the F-15I Eagle instead, and the F-16ES demonstrator was demodified back to a more-or-less normal F-16 spec. However, the CFT scheme had been validated, and Lockheed Martin kept it in mind. Source airvectors.net

IAF – xnir @flicker.com

For a long time, it was uncertain if there would be a Block 60/62 version of the F-16C/D. However, in 1994 the United Arab Emirates (UAE) indicated that they needed 80 long-range strike fighters. The UAE wanted the latest available technology incorporated into these planes, and they indicated that if the USA was not willing to release such technologies, they might consider such competitors as the Eurofighter and the Dassault Rafale.

In pursuit of the UAE contract, Lockheed Martin came up with a delta-winged design based largely on the F-16XL. Wingroot troughs could hold four AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, and a thrust-vectoring General Electric F110 engine was proposed. The delta-winged F-16 was to carry an improved radar, an internal FLIR and laser designation system, and an improved cockpit with a much more advanced set of multi-function and liquid-crystal displays.

However, very early on Lockheed Martin began to develop second thoughts about such an advanced aircraft, and began to consider a more conventional design for the UAE. The UAE had indicated that they were reluctant to commit themselves to an untried aircraft, one which had no other customers and in particular one in which the USAF was uninterested. By this time, the Pentagon had indicated that they were interested in the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) project as a potential replacement for the F-16. Lockheed Martin was a contender for the JAST project, and since the delta-winged F-16 could outperform the JAST in virtually every aspect except stealth and for considerably less money, the company might end up competing against itself. The delta-winged F-16 project was quietly shelved.

Lockheed then proposed a Block 60/62 lot of F-16C/Ds for the UAE order. The Block 60/62 would be largely based on the earlier Block 50/52, but would have an internal targeting and navigation system similar to LANTIRN but with only the sensor heads outside the aircraft. However, the Block 60/62 designation would not be applied until the aircraft actually enter production.

rjm-aero.com

Again, two alternative engines would be offered. The Block 60 would be powered by the General Electric F110-GE-129EFE (Enhanced Fighter Engine), which would offer 34,000 lb.s.t with possible growth to 36,000 lb.s.t. The Block 62 would be powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229A which offers 32,000 lb.s.t, with possible growth to 35,900 lb.s.t. Both of these engines are available with thrust vectoring.

The Block 60/62 will be equipped with a Northrop Grumman sensor suite that will be based on the APG-68(V)5 radar. It is an integrated system that will have an internal targeting and navigation system similar to LANTIRN but with only the sensor heads outside the aircraft. The Northrop Grumman AN/APG-80 Agile Beam Radar (ABR) will be provided which will have an active array with a large number of transmit/receive modules This beam can be steered almost instantaneously, making it possible to interleave various radar modes. For example, the radar could search for surface targets and do terrain-following while simultaneously searching for airborne threats.

Departing on 35L from a gas-n-go at the 111th RS for a long night of weapons payload stability testing over the Gulf of Mexico with Lockheed’s own F-16 before delivery to the UAE. Also wore civil registration N161LM. Even though 00-6056 may have begun assembly in 2000, she was not fully assembled until late 2003. Photo: MDLPhotoz @flickr

The cockpit will have the backup electromechanical instruments removed, and three full-color displays will be added.

An attempt will be made to use commercially-available products such as PowerPC and Pentium processors, and the Ethernet databus will be used.

After two years of negotiations (including a controversy of whether computer software codes would be released), the UAE signed contracts on March 5, 2000 for 55 single seat and 25 two-seat Block 60 F-16s. These planes would be known as Desert Falcon. On March 14, it was announced that the powerplant would be the General Electric F110-GE-132, an uprated version of the existing F-16 engine which can deliver 32,000 lb.s.t.

Taxing out from a gas-n-go at the 111th RS for a long night of weapons payload stability testing over the Gulf of Mexico with Lockheed’s own F-16 before delivery to the UAE. Also wore civil registration N161LM. Even though 00-6056 may have begun assembly in 2000, she was not fully assembled until late 2003. Photo: MDLPhotoz @flickr

The Block 60 also includes new conformal fuel tanks which significantly extend the aircraft’s range, with less drag than underwing drop tanks.

In 2003, the Block 60 was redesignated F-16E/F, in recognition of the major structural, avionics and propulsion system advancements, which make the Block 60 a practically new version of the F-16. They are also known as “Desert Falcons”, in recognition of their first customer.

The first of 80 Block 60 F-16s for the United Arab Emirates Air Force made its maiden flight at Fort Worth on December 6, 2003. It bore the serial 3001 and wore the civil registration of N161LM. Flight testing by Lockheed Martan began in early 2004. Source joebaugher.com

UAEAF Inventory

f-16.net

The most advanced F-16s in the world aren’t American. That distinction belongs to the UAE, whose F-16 E/F Block 60s are a half-generation ahead of the F-16 C/D Block 50/52+ aircraft that form the backbone of the US Air Force, and of many other fleets around the world. The Block 60 has been described as a lower-budget alternative to the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, and there’s a solid argument to be made that their performance figures and broad sensor array will even keep them ahead of pending F-16 modernizations in countries like Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore.

F-16C/D: Details

The most advanced F-16s in the world aren’t American. That distinction belongs to the UAE, whose F-16 E/F Block 60s are a half-generation ahead of the F-16 C/D Block 50/52+ aircraft that form the backbone of the US Air Force, and of many other fleets around the world. The Block 60 has been described as a lower-budget alternative to the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, and there’s a solid argument to be made that their performance figures and broad sensor array will even keep them ahead of pending F-16 modernizations in countries like Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore.

jetwashaviationphotos.com

The UAE invested in the “Desert Falcon’s” development, and the contract reportedly includes royalty fees if other countries buy it. Investment doesn’t end when the fighters are delivered, either. Money is still needed for ongoing training, fielding, and equipment needs – and the UAE has decided that they need more planes, too. This DID article showcases the F-16 Block 60/61, and offers a window into its associated costs and life cycle, including dedicated equipment purchases for this fighter fleet.

The UAE invested in the “Desert Falcon’s” development, and the contract reportedly includes royalty fees if other countries buy it. Investment doesn’t end when the fighters are delivered, either. Money is still needed for ongoing training, fielding, and equipment needs – and the UAE has decided that they need more planes, too. This DID article showcases the F-16 Block 60/61, and offers a window into its associated costs and life cycle, including dedicated equipment purchases for this fighter fleet.

Ottosen Photography

UAE Defence Ministry enters $1.6 billion deal with Lockheed Martin to upgrade F-16 fighters

DUBAI (Reuters) – United Arab Emirates’ Defence Ministry announced a 6 billion dirham (1.24 billion pounds) deal with Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) to upgrade F-16 jet fighters, a spokesman said on Sunday.

The deal is to upgrade 80 F-16 jet fighters, Major General Abdullah Al Sayed Al Hashemi, Chief of the Military Committee and the spokesman of the UAE Armed Forces, told a news conference. Source reuters.com

The F-16E/F “Desert Falcon”

igor113.livejournal.com

The F-16 has now undergone 6 major block changes since its inception in the late 1970s, incorporating 4 generations of core avionics, 5 engine versions divided between 2 basic models (P&W F100 and GE F110), 5 radar versions, 5 electronic warfare suites, and 2 generations of most other subsystems. Moore’s Law applies as well, albeit more slowly: the latest F-16’s core computer suite has over 2,000 times the memory, and over 260 times the throughput, of the original production F-16.

Block 60: Technical

Each new iteration of the fighter costs money to develop, integrate, and test. The UAE invested almost $3 billion into research and development for the F-16 E/F Block 60 Desert Falcon. First flight took place in December 2003, and flight testing by Lockheed Martin began in early 2004. UAE pilot training on the F-16E/F began at Tucson Air National Guard Base, AZ in September 2004, and the first group of pilots completed their training in April 2005. The first Desert Falcons arrived in the UAE in May 2005.

All of the initial 60 aircraft have been delivered, and all training now takes place in the UAE. Versions of this aircraft have been entered in a number of international export competitions as well, including Brazil’s F-X2 (eliminated) and India’s MMRCA (eliminated), but it hasn’t found any buyers yet. Production will restart soon anyway, thanks to the UAE’s impending add-on buy 30 F-16 E/F Block 61s with minor component upgrades.

The aircraft’s advanced avionics suite has room available for future improvements. The Block 60’s modular mission computer has a processing throughput of 12.5 million instructions per second and provides sensor and weapons integration.

The ALQ-165 electronic countermeasures system, also known as the Airborne Self-Protection Jammer (ASPJ), is a sophisticated, high-power jamming system developed to fulfill both U.S. Navy and Air Force requirements – although the USAF abandonned the program a while ago. Missile warning systems on the Block 60 provide advanced warning of approaching missiles so the pilot can activate countermeasures in time. The Block 60 F-16 can accommodate both active and passive missile warning systems currently under development. Source f-16.net

Dylan Phelps

AN/ALQ-165 Airborne Self-Protection Jammer (ASPJ)

The ASPJ contributes to full-dimensional protection by improving individual aircraft probability of survival. The AN/ALQ-165 ASPJ is an automated modular reprogrammable active radar frequency (RF) deception jammer designed to contribute to the electronic self protection of the host tactical aircraft from a variety of air to air and surface to air RF threats. The ASPJ was designed to accomplish threat sorting, threat identification, and jamming management in a dense signal environment to counter multiple threats. The modular architecture supports internal integration with other avionics/weapons systems in a variety of aircraft. The ALQ-165, a joint venture between Northrop Grumman and ITT Avionics, is now in production for the US Marine Corps and Navy’s F/A-18s and F-14. Source fas.org

Design & Powerplant

igor113.livejournal.com

The aircraft’s conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) let them carry more fuel, with less drag than underwing drop tanks. All that fuel feeds GE’s new F110-GE-132 engine, which produces up to 32,500 pounds of thrust to offset the plane’s increased weight. The -132 is a derivative of the proven F110-GE-129, a 29,000-pound thrust class engine that powers the majority of F-16 C/D fighters worldwide. Even with a bigger engine and more weight from added sensors, CFTs, etc., Block 60 fighters offer a mission radius of 1,025 miles – a 40% range increase over F-16s without CFTs.

Conformal fuel tanks (CFTs)

Conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) – igor113.livejournal.com

Special attention should be paid to the topic of conformal (overhead) tanks. Two of these tanks, installed on the sides of the upper fuselage, are the main external elements that distinguish the Desert Falcon from previous modifications.

Conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) – igor113.livejournal.com

The tanks tested in flight in 1999 are somewhat different from the version offered to the Israelis. They are lighter, better match the aerodynamics of an aircraft, have a lower radar signature, are more technologically advanced to manufacture, and are quicker to mount on an aircraft.

Conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) – igor113.livejournal.com

As a result, the maximum total fuel mass of a single-seat F-16C Block 60 aircraft was 9070 kg: 3080 kg in the fuselage and wing tanks, 1360 kg in conformal tanks, 3700 kg in two underwing external fuel tanks (PTB) and 930 kg in the central ventral PTB … This is 85% more than previous F-16 aircraft modifications. As a result, the F-16E / F Block 60 can deliver twice the combat payload at the same range than its predecessors. Source igor113.livejournal.com

igor113.livejournal.com

Conformal tanks aren’t exclusive to the Block 60. They’re options for many F-16 variants, and can be removed before missions, but that may not be a great idea for the UAE’s fleet. It’s a classic give/take scenario, in which more capability (q.v. electronics) means more weight, which requires a larger engine, which shortens range without more fuel. The conformal tanks more than make up that difference, creating a formidable strike fighter, but they exact their own aerodynamic cost in acceleration and handling. That tradeoff hurt attempts to export the fighter to India’s IAF, which prioritized maneuvering performance and left the Desert Falcon off of their shortlist.

igor113.livejournal.com

GE’s new F110-GE-132 engine

GE

The F110 was developed utilizing the same core design of the F101 engine. This engine has different fan and afterburner packages to tailor engine performance compared with the F101 engine.

GE

The F110-GE-132 is the latest and most advanced member of the F110 engine family yielding 32,000 pounds of thrust. Derived from the F110-GE-129, this engine incorporates some advanced technologies related to both the F414 and F120 engines. As a result of that, -132 has an increased combat performance over -129 and lower total ownership costs.

igor113.livejournal.com – cropped

The F110-GE-132 utilizes General Electric Aircraft Engines (GEAE)’s extensive technology base, including: a long-chord blisk fan derived from the F118 engine, a radial afterburner derived from the F414 engine and enhanced for the F136 engine (Joint Strike Fighter), and a composite outer duct based on the F404 and F414 engines. In the future, GEAE plans to infuse a new core developed to extend the service life of the engine thus increasing durability and time on wing.

igor113.livejournal.com

The F110-GE-132 engine was developed to power the F-16C/D Block 60 or F-16E/F aircraft ordered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force. Source deagel.com

igor113.livejournal.com

Electronics

igor113.livejournal.com – cropped

The Desert Falcons’ most significant changes are electronic. Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-80 AESA radar is the most significant advance, and made the UAE the first fighter force in the world to field this revolutionary new radar technology outside of the USA. Compared to mechanically-scanned arrays like the AN/APG-68v9s that equip advanced American and foreign F-16s, AESA radars like the APG-80 have more power, better range, less sidelobe “leakage,” near-100% combat availability, and more potential add-on capabilities via software improvements. Unlike the APG-68s, the APG-80 can perform simultaneous ground and air scan, track, and targeting, and it adds an “agile beam” that reduces the odds of detection by opposing aircraft when the radar is on.

This last feature is important. Seeing the enemy first remains every bit as significant as it was in Boelcke’s day, but the inverse square law for propagation means that turning on older radar design is like activating a flashlight in a large and dark building. It can be seen much farther away than it can illuminate. An agile-beam AESA radar largely negates that disadvantage, while illuminating enemies who may not have their own radars on.

AN/APG-80 AESA radar

AN/APG-80 is an airborne multimode radar using an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) with around 1000 T/R Modules. The APG-80 is designed to search continuously for and track multiple targets within the forward hemisphere of the aircraft. As a result of increased operational flexibility, pilots will be able to simultaneously perform air-to-air search-and-track, air-to-ground targeting and aircraft terrain-following.

The development of the AN/APG-80 based on AN/APG-68 and is manufactured by Northrop Grumman. The Radar is intended for use in Lockheeds fighter F-16E/F. Northrop Grumman supplied its APG-80 AESA to the United Arab Emirates for its Block 60 F-16s.

EXAMPLE RADAR CROSS SECTION RANGE
AA-missile 0.0001 m² > 11 km
stealth fighter 0.001 m² > 20 km
cruise missile 0.1 m² > 62 km
classic fighter 1.0 m² > 110 km
bomber 5.0 m² > 165 km
passenger aircraft 10.0 m² > 195 km

Source radartutorial.eu

GENERAL DATA:
Type: Radar Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 296.3 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0.2 km Generation: Early 2000s
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Non-Coperative Target Recognition (NCTR) – Jet Engine Modulation [Class Info], Continous Tracking Capability [Phased Array Radar], Track While Scan (TWS), Pulse Doppler Radar (Full LDSD Capability), Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA)
SENSORS / EW:
AN/APG-80 AESA – (F-16 Blk 60, APG-68ABR) Radar
Role: Radar, FCR, Air-to-Air & Air-to-Surface, Long-Range
Max Range: 296.3 km

Source cmano-db.com

Cockpit

USAF photo

The cockpit will have the backup electromechanical instruments removed, and three full-color displays will be added.

An attempt will be made to use commercially-available products such as PowerPC and Pentium processors, and the Ethernet databus will be used. Source joebaugher.com

Avionics improvements round out the enhancements via an advanced mission computer to enhance sensor and weapon integration, a trio of 5″x7″ color displays in the cockpit – photo Tom Harvey

The aircraft’s advanced avionics suite has room available for future improvements. The Block 60’s modular mission computer has a processing throughput of 12.5 million instructions per second and provides sensor and weapons integration. Source f-16.net

FLIR targeting system (IFTS)

The Desert Falcons also take a step beyond the standard ground surveillance and targeting pod systems fielded on other F-16s, by incorporating them into the aircraft itself. Northrop Grumman’s AN/ASQ-32 IFTS is derived from its work on the AN/AQS-28 LITENING AT, but internal carriage reduces drag and radar signature, and frees up a weapons pylon. The ASQ-32 can even be used to find aerial targets, allowing passive targeting, and offering a tracking option that radar stealth won’t evade.

The planned under-nose integrated FLIR targeting system (IFTS) has been replaced by a new podded FLIR mounted on the intake hardpoints. Apparently, there were problems in achieving the promised performance with the original layout. The Northrop Grumman AAQ-32 targeting FLIR and laser designator has been repackaged in a new station. However, the original wide-area navigation FLIR housing above the nose will still be there. Source joebaugher.com

Northrop Grumman AAQ-32 targeting FLIR and laser designator

The IFTS provides 24-hour precision strike and navigation capabilities. It detects and identifies both ground and airborne targets, even at night or in adverse weather, for highly accurate weapons delivery. Source northropgrumman.com

AN/AAQ-32 IFTS [Laser Designator]

GENERAL DATA:
Type: Laser Designator Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 27.8 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Not Applicable (N/A)
SENSORS / EW:
AN/AAQ-32 IFTS [Laser Designator] – Laser Designator
Role: Laser Target Designator & Ranger (LTD/R)
Max Range: 27.8 km

AN/AAQ-32 IFTS [FLIR]

GENERAL DATA:
Type: Infrared Altitude Max: 0 m
Range Max: 83.3 km Altitude Min: 0 m
Range Min: 0 km Generation: Infrared, 3rd Generation Imaging (2000s/2010s, Impr LANTIRN, Litening II/III, ATFLIR)
Properties: Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) [Side Info], Classification [Class Info] / Brilliant Weapon [Automatic Target Aquisition], Continous Tracking Capability [Visual]
SENSORS / EW:
AN/AAQ-32 IFTS [FLIR] – Infrared
Role: Infrared, Attack FLIR
Max Range: 83.3 km

Source cmano-db.com

United Arab Emirates (UAE) F-16 get Modernizing head-up displays

Digital Light Engine Head-Up Display (HUD)

BAE Systems has been a leader in HUD development and production for more than 50 years, a position gained through continuous investment in technology and innovation. BAE Systems:

  • has produced over 14,000 head-up displays
  • that are in service on over 50 different aircraft types
  • and for more than 50 countries

 Features

  • Better situational awareness for the military aviator
  • Allows some freedom of head movement, reducing pilot fatigue
  • Backward compatible to any existing aircraft interface which offers minimal impact on display performance

Designed for mission effectiveness, the DLE HUD has addressed obsolescence issues by:

  • removing the conventional cathode ray tube (CRT) technology powering the display and
  • introducing a more advanced digital display solution

With more military aircraft upgrade advancements to digital display solutions, the DLE HUD offers easy integration into existing HUD space. Offering more than 20 percent life cycle cost reduction and at least four times greater Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF), the DLE HUD is a future proof investment in the advanced display technology segment.

Typical performance specification

Specification Display Source Analogue Symbol Generator, EU, AEU, MLU, IMDC
Display Surface Resolution 1280 x 1024 pixels
Field of View 25° x 22°
Display Luminance 0 to > 2000 ftL
Luminance Uniformity < 20% within a 10° diameter area
< 30% over the TFoV
Secondary Images < 2% of primary
Display Contrast > 1.2:1 against an ambient of 10,000 ftL
> 1200:1 Sequential
Outside World Transmission > 75%
Image Positional Accuracy < 0.8mR error within 5° of CFoV < 1mR elsewhere within FoV
Mass < 20.1 Kilograms (ballast may be applied to maintain C of G position if required)
Operating Temperature -40°C to +75°C
Storage Temperature -40°C to +85°C
Operating Altitude 0 to 70,000 ft
Power
Latency <1mS
Dimensions Form Fit Function

Source baesystems.com

BAE Systems selects Raytheon’s projector for UAE F-16 DLE HUD

Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS)

In an air-to-air role, the JHMCS, combined with the AIM-9X missile, form the High-Off-BoreSight (HOBS) system. HOBS is an airborne weapon-interception system that enables pilots to accurately direct or “cue” onboard weapons against enemy aircraft merely by pointing their heads at the targets to guide the weapons, while performing high-G aircraft maneuvers that may be required to complete the attack.

In an air-to-ground role, the JHMCS is used in conjunction with targeting sensors (radar, FLIR, etc.) and “smart weapons” to accurately and precisely attack surface targets. It allows F-15E aircrew to provide unparalleled support to ground troops in the CAS environment.

In all roles, the JHMCS provides the pilot with aircraft performance, targeting, weaponry and threat warning information, regardless of where the pilot is looking, significantly enhancing pilot situation awareness throughout the mission. In a dual-seat aircraft, each crewmember can wear a JHMCS helmet, perform operations independent of each other, and have continuous awareness of where the other crewmember is looking.

System Features

Unlike one of its predecessor, the DASH system, which is integrated into the helmet itself, JHMCS is a clip-on attachment unit, which can be latched into position with one hand during flight (see photo below). It fits to modified HGU-55/P, HGU-56/P or HGU-68/P helmets and it features a newer, faster digital processing package than that used in the DASH. The overall design is more advanced than DASH, based on the collective knowledge accumulated by Elbit and Kaiser through the years.

The JHMCS has a magnetic helmet-mounted tracker (like DASH), which determines where the pilot’s head is pointed, combined with a miniature display system that projects information onto the pilot’s visor. A magnetic transmitter unit is fixed to the pilot’s seat and a magnetic field probe is mounted on the helmet to determine where the helmet is actually pointing. A Helmet Vehicle Interface ( HVI) interacts with the aircraft system bus to provide signal generation for the helmet display. The head tracker and visor display together act as a targeting device that can aim sensors and weapons.

To obtain a variety of information and sensor-based data pilots can refer to the visual display on the inside of the helmet while remaining in a “heads-up” or “outside” position during combat; this eliminates the break in visual contact that occurs when they look away to check the display readouts in the cockpit. This significantly improves pilot situational awareness during all mission elements. The visor display presents monochrome calligraphic symbology (stroke display) with information like airspeed, altitude, G-load, AoA, target range, targeting cues, threat warnings, etc. JHMCS provides support for raster scanned imagery to display FLIR or IRST pictures for night operations and provides collimated symbology and imagery to the pilot. JHMCS symbology covers a 20 degree field of view for the right eye, with an 18 mm exit pupil (see photo below).

To aim and fire a missile, pilots simply move their heads to align a targeting cross (placed in the middle of the projected imagery) with the target and press a switch on the flight controls to direct and fire a weapon.

boeing.com

To attack a ground target, the pilot can acquire the target with a sensor and note it’s location on the helmet display. Alternatively, the pilot can use the helmet display to cue sensors and weapons to a visually detected ground target. Note that precision ordnance cannot be released based on JHMCS targeting alone, the system is not accurate enough for this. However it can be used to direct the aircraft’s much more precise targeting systems (targeting pod) towards the target the pilot is looking at. This way the tedious “soda-straw” search limited to a display image generated by the narrow field of view targeting system can be shortened significatly. With JHMCS, target acquisition can follow a much quicker “look, sharpen, shoot” process.

The system can be used without requiring the aircraft to be maneuvered, significantly reducing the time needed to prosecute an attack, which also minimizes the time spent in the threat environment.

Since targets may be located at high-off-boresight line-of-sight locations in relation to the shooter, the system delivers a short-range intercept envelope that is significantly larger than any other air-to-air weapon in use. When combined with the AIM-9X missile, JHMCS allows effective target designation up to 80 degrees either side of the aircraft’s nose.

The JHMCS display assembly requires two cable connections: a high voltage power cable for operation and a data cable for information exchange with the host aircraft. Unlike in DASH the high voltage power supply is not embedded in the helmet, it feeds up via an umbilical, through a quick disconnect inline high coltage rated connector.

When used in conjunction with a datalink, the system permits handoff of visually detected targets from one aircraft to another, with the second aircraft receiving visual cueing to the target. Source f-15e.info

A JHMCS helmet mounted display provides parity with the fighter’s most modern counterparts, and displays information from the aircraft’s radar and sensors wherever the pilot looks. Its real advantage is that it creates a much larger targeting zone, which can be fully exploited by the newest air-to-air missiles like the AIM-9X. Avionics improvements round out the enhancements via an advanced mission computer to enhance sensor and weapon integration, a trio of 5″x7″ color displays in the cockpit, etc.

Various advanced electronic countermeasures systems make up the Falcon Edge Integrated Electronic Warfare System (IEWS), which provides both advance warning capabilities and automatic countermeasures release.

Weapons

The Block 60 F-16 retains the full armament capability of the Block 50’s and adds several new capabilities. The Block 60’s basic design and weapon interfaces are compatible with projected future weapons including new air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-132 Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM). The aircraft will also support all-weather standoff weapons, such as the AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), and AGM-84E Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM).

The Block 60 F-16 has been developed with planned growth improvements and technology advances in virtually all major areas, including engines, avionics, and weapons. Source f-16.net

TYLER ROGOWAY

F-16s have an extremely wide range of integrated weapons, but Mideast politics has kept some American weapons from the UAE’s hands. Their Desert Falcons won’t carry the same stealthy AGM-158 JASSM long-range, stealthy cruise missiles found on American F-16s, for instance. Nor can they carry the similar “Black Shahine” MBDA Storm Shadow derivatives that equip the UAE’s Mirage 2000 fleet.

20mm General Electric M61A1 multi-barrel cannon

The M61A1 and M61A2 Gatlin guns are externally powered six-barrel 20mm Gatling gun systems that offer lightweight, highly lethal combat support for a variety of air, land and sea platforms.

The M61A1 and M61A2 increases multiple-hit probabilities when compared to single barrel guns operating at lower rates of fire. The M61A1 and M61A2 weapons provide reliability up to 10 times greater than single-barrel guns.

The M61A2 shares the same features as the M61A1, but is 20 percent lighter. The M61A2 will meet or exceed the M61A1 gun’s reliability, maintainability and supportability features. The M61A2 is available for applications where weapon system weight reduction is critical. Source gd-ots.com

AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder

f-16.net

AIM-9X is the newest variant of Sidewinder. The AIM-9X has the same rocket motor and warhead as the AIM-9M. Major physical changes from previous versions of the missile include fixed forward canards, and smaller fins designed to increase flight performance. The guidance section has been redesigned and features an imaging infrared seeker. The propulsion section now incorporates a jet-vane steering system for enhanced post-launch agility. The X model is also compatible with the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System, which is designed for ease of target acquisition and decreased aircrew workload.

General Characteristics
Primary Function:
 Air-to-air missile
Contractor: Raytheon and Loral Martin
Power Plant: Hercules and Bermite Mk 36 Mod 11
Length: 9 feet, 5 inches (2.87 meters)
Diameter: 5 inches (0.13 meters)
Finspan: 2 feet, 3/4 inches (0.63 meters)
Warhead: Annular blast fragmentation warhead
Launch Weight: 190 pounds (85.5 kilograms)
Guidance System: Solid-state, infrared homing system
Introduction Date: 1956
Unit Cost:  Variable, depending on lot, quantity and block

Source af.mil

AIM-120 AMRAAM

The AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) is a new generation air-to-air missile. It has an all-weather, beyond-visual-range capability and is scheduled to be operational beyond 2000. The AMRAAM is being procured for the Air Force, U.S. Navy and America’s allies.

AMRAAM has three variants – AIM-120A/B/C — operational on U.S. Air Force F-15, F-16 and F-22 aircraft.

General Characteristics
Primary Function:
 Air-to-air tactical missile
Contractor: Hughes Aircraft Co. and Raytheon Co.
Power Plant: High performance
Length: 143.9 inches (366 centimeters)
Launch Weight: 335 pounds (150.75 kilograms)
Diameter: 7 inches (17.78 centimeters)
Wingspan: 20.7 inches (52.58 centimeters)
Range: 20+ miles (17.38+ nautical miles)
Speed: Supersonic
Guidance System: Active radar terminal/inertial midcourse
Warhead: Blast fragmentation
Unit Cost: $386,000
Date Deployed: September 1991

Source af.mil

Joint stand-off weapon (JSOW)

raytheonmissilesanddefense.com

The AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) precision strike weapon, manufactured by Raytheon Company, is a 1,000-pound air-to-surface missile that can carry several different lethal packages. The weapon’s standoff range of 12 to 63 nautical miles allows JSOW to remain outside the threat envelopes of enemy point defenses while effectively engaging and destroying targets. JSOW is integrated and in operational status on the F/A-18C/D/E/F, F-16, B-52, F-15E, B-1B and B-2 aircraft. Integration is underway on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It is a joint Navy-Air Force program, with the Navy as the lead service. Source military.com

General Characteristics, JSOW A, A-1, C
Primary Function: Air-to-surface Standoff from Outside Point Defenses (SOPD) weapon for use against a variety of targets.
Contractor: Raytheon Co.
Date Deployed: January 1999.
Length: 160 inches (4.1 meters).
Diameter: Box-shaped, 13 inches (33.02 cm) on a side.
Wingspan: 106 inches (2.69 meters).
Weight: 1,065 pounds (approximate).
Range: Low-altitude, 12 nautical miles; high-altitude, 70 nautical miles.
Guidance System: GPS/INS (Global Position/Inertial), Terminal IR Seeker (AGM-154C unique)
Platforms: Navy: F/A-18 C/D, F/A-18 E/F, AV-8B, F-35. Air Force: F-16 Block 40/50, B-1, B-2, B-52, F-15, F-117, A-10, F-35A.
Warhead: AGM-154A/145 BLU-97 combined-effects bomblets; AGM-154A-1, 500-pound BLU-111 warhead; AGM-154B, six P3I BLU-108 sensor-fuzed-weapon submunitions; AGM-154C, Broach multi-stage warhead.
General Characteristics, JSOW C-1
Contractor: Raytheon Co.
Length: 160 inches (4.1 meters)
Diameter: Box-shaped, 13 inches (33.02 cm) on a side
Wingspan: 106 inches (2.69 meters)
Weight: 1,065 pounds (approximate)
Range: approximately 70 nautical miles
Guidance System: Link-16 data link, GPS/INS, terminal IR seeker
Platforms: F/A-18E/F, F-35A/C
Warhead: Broach multi-stage warhead
Last Update: 23 February 2017

Source navy.mil

The Mirage 2000-9 upgrades that the UAE developed with France addressed this issue, giving the UAE a platform capable of handling their new acquisition. As of 2013, UAE F-16E/F fighters have finally received the SLAM-ER precision attack missile, giving them the shorter-range but very accurate strike capabilities. Source: defenseindustrydaily.com

SLAM-ER precision attack missile

navair.navy.mil

Specifications:
Primary function: Long-range, air-launched precision land and sea attack cruise missile
Contractor: The Boeing Co.
Date deployed: June 2000
Propulsion: Teledyne Turbojet (thrust is greater than 600 pounds)
Length: 172 inches (4.4 m)
Diameter: 13.5 inches (34.3 cm)
Wingspan: 7.2 feet (2.2 m)
Weight: 1,488 pounds (674.5 kg)
Speed: High subsonic
Ordnance: 500-pound Tomahawk Derivative Titanium
Guidance system: Ring Laser Gyro inertial navigation system (INS) with multi-channel GPS; infrared seeker for terminal guidance with man-in-the-Loop control data-link from the controlling aircraft. Upgraded missiles incorporate automatic target acquisition (ATA). Source navair.navy.mil

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Images are from public domain unless otherwise stated

Main image jetwashaviationphotos.com

Revised 13 Jan, 2021

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