The USAF is continuing the Service Extension Program (SLEP) for its F-16C Fighting Falcon.
The F-16C’s SLEP program incorporates the APG-83 Radar (SABR) fusion which supports AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) technology.
This radar will replace the older APG-68 radar on approximately 70 F-16Cs at Shaw Air Force Base.
The USAF says that with this modification, the F-16C will have the same advanced radar operating on the F-22 Raptor and F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation fighters.
The updated radar system allows F-16 pilots to use synthetic aperture radar maps to detect and engage weapons against air-to-air and air-to-ground threats at greater ranges.
The development of the USAF’s 20th Fighter Wing’s F-16Cs will enable it to have higher combat capabilities in the future.
The 20th Fighter Wing is the wing of the USAF at Shaw AFB, South Carolina. This wing is part of the Air Force’s Fifteenth Air Combat Command.
The F-16C (single-seat) and F-16D (two-seat) versions entered production in 1984. The first C/D version was the Block 25 with improved cockpit avionics and radar adding all-weather capability with behind-vision-range missiles. (BVR) of the AIM-7 and AIM-120 air-to-air. Block 30/32, 40/42, and 50/52 were later C/D versions.
The unit cost of the F-16C/D is approximately $18.8 million (1998). The operational cost per flight hour has been estimated at $7,000 to $22,470 or $24,000, depending on the method of calculation.