Lockheed Martin and the Air Force have updated the F-16 jet fighter with new armaments, processors, sensors, cockpit displays, and targeting technology as part of a larger effort to keep the 1980s-era aircraft flying for at least another few decades. Lockheed has developed a new F-16 “V” variant that has a new data bus, electronic warfare suite, missile warning sensors, and helmet mounted cueing technology in order to meet the service’s needs for the aircraft.
While the new variation is aligned with an Air Force F-16 fleet-wide Service Life Extension Platform to extend the aircraft’s operational capabilities into the future, it is also an unique endeavour to create a special version jet for US partners in need of vastly enhanced fourth-generation warplanes. Many believe that integrating new sensors, weaponry, and electronics into an older airframe might result in a plane that is practically wholly new.
The idea is to convert the decades-old, combat-proven aircraft to a current threat environment by a series of technological changes, many of which can be accomplished with the help of new software programmes and apps.
In development is the F-16 “V” model. For several years, has substantially influenced the development of the Indian F-16 jet fighter derivative known as the F-21. The F-21 integrates a few technology unique to India, like as Electronic Warfare weapons and Triple Missile Launcher Adapters, which arm the plane with 40% more air-to-air weapons than basic or prior F-16s.
“The F-21 is also the world’s only fighter capable of both probe/drogue and boom aerial refuelling, and it has the industry’s longest service life—12,000 flight hours.” Losinger said that the F-21’s new AESA radar not only increases the radar range but also incorporates modern advances such as the Navy’s Infrared Search and Track targeting system.
IRST is a passive, long-range sensor that can track several targets simultaneously in a “jamming” or electronic warfare threat environment and provide precise air-to-air aiming. It was first developed for a Navy F/A-18.
A much improved, updated, and upgunned F-16 counterpart, such as the F-21, might provide India with a considerably more favourable strategic situation as it strives to dissuade and restrict China, particularly along its border.
China has been taking steps to aggressively militarise its Western plateau regions along its border with India for some time, a form of military posturing and strategic manoeuvre that may be jeopardised by a fleet of F-21s.