United States aeronautics company Lockheed Martin’s F-16IN Super Viper, single engine, fifth generation fighter aircraft, now comes with value additions. Several features of the fighter may meet specific requirements of the Indian Air Force.

Jeffrey A. Paulk, Business Development Analyst (India) for Lockheed Martin, told reporters here on Saturday that the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Northrop Grumman APG-80, was capable of nanosecond air to ground sweeps and came with a maritime mode, all features required by the IAF.

Lockheed Martin is among six contenders for the medium multi-role combat aircraft deal for the IAF: 126 of the selected aircraft will be ordered.

The U.S.-based aircraft manufacturer has been demonstrating the F16, variants of which have been used for decades by the air forces of 25 countries.

The latest APG-80 radar is known to be a discriminator in multi-role combat aircraft when network operations are unavailable or when the fighter aircraft’s radio frequency has been raised to a higher level due to carrying external stores.

The AESA radar, with its hundreds of individually controlled active transmit/receive (T/R) modules, can achieve the greater detection ranges needed in such instances, while also minimising the Probability of Intercept.

Data link capability

Another feature of the F-16 is that it was the first multi-role fighter to incorporate data link capability. The IAF’s Operational Data Link (ODL) can be integrated into the F-16IN when available, ensuring interoperability with other IAF aircraft.

Data integration through all phases of a mission transforms the pilot from aircraft system manager to a tactician, Lockheed Martin executives said.

Flight trials of the F-16IN Super Viper by Indian test pilots are now on in Bangalore. Three aircraft currently used by the UAE air force have been brought here for this purpose.

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