Is the F-16V the Most Technologically Advanced 4th Generation Fighter in the World?

The Lockheed Martin F-16V is the most advanced version of the F-16 fighter aircraft available today. It incorporates various upgrades aimed at maintaining its position as a leading combat-proven multi-role fighter.

The F-16V features advanced capabilities within a cost-effective and adaptable framework. Its key enhancements include an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, modern avionics subsystems based on commercial off-the-shelf technology, a large high-resolution display, and a high-speed data bus.

The F-16V is equipped with a Link-16 Theater Data Link, Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod, advanced weapons systems, precise GPS navigation, and the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS) to enhance operational capabilities.

The F-16V’s AESA radar, developed by Northrop Grumman and known as the APG-83, provides improved situational awareness, flexible targeting, and all-weather capabilities. It offers pilots detailed target information, customizable digital maps, extended detection and tracking ranges, high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) mapping, and the ability to operate in dense radio frequency environments. The APG-83 radar also ensures greater system reliability and availability compared to older radar systems.

The F-16V represents the next generation of the F-16 platform, leveraging a common support infrastructure worldwide and significantly enhancing its capabilities. It can be acquired as a new production F-16 or as an upgrade to existing F-16 aircraft.

Enhanced Battlespace Awareness

The F-16V’s new Center Pedestal Display (CPD) is also noteworthy since it displays vital tactical imagery on a high-resolution 6″ x 8″ screen for the pilots. The pilot can benefit greatly from the information provided by AESA and the Targeting Pod thanks to the high-resolution display. 

The new CPD allows for color-changing maps, more manageable air-to-air Situation Displays, zoom capabilities, the ability to toggle between displays, and a digital representation of flight instrument data. The CPD can also be used with a Night Vision Imaging System.

F-16V Takes Flight

On October 16, 2015, Lockheed Martin accomplished the first flight of the F-16V, the first F-16 to fly with Northrop Grumman’s cutting-edge APG-83 AESA radar. The F-16’s capabilities have been upgraded dramatically thanks to the new radar. 

The APG-83 SABR AESA fire control radar from Northrop Grumman is a 5th Generation system that may be used for both air-to-air and air-to-ground radar applications. Northrop Grumman also manufactures the AESA radars used by the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.

Lockheed Martin has been working on the F-16V for almost two years and is already conducting flying tests. Strong customer interest in the F-16V persists as the program enters the crucial flight test phase, a hallmark of any fighter aircraft development program.

F-16 Durability Testing

Lockheed Martin has logged over 27,000 hours of virtual flight time on an F-16C Block 50 aircraft and is currently evaluating the data to establish the aircraft’s reliability well beyond its expected service life. 

Using the results of these tests, the F-16 will be able to prove its safety and durability much beyond its original intended service life and establish a new, definite flight hour limit.

Customers of the F-16 may rest certain that the combat-proven aircraft will continue to play an important role in world security for years to come, thanks to the results of the durability tests.

More than 4,550 F-16s have already been delivered, making the F-16V the next logical step in the development of the world’s most successful 4th Generation fighter.