ANKARA ($1=16.48 Turkish Liras) — Turkey has begun serial modernization of 35 F-16 Block 30 fighters from the Turkish Air Force. The modernization is carried out under the Ozgur project and includes a mission computer with national [Turkish] avionics and national [Turkish] OFP software. The first fully modernized Ozgur fighter is expected to leave the hangar this year.
The Ozgur project is led by the President of the Turkish Defense Industry and is implemented by the Turkish company TAI. Turkish media report that the first to receive the modernization will be the first F-16 Block 30TM to arrive in the Air Force years ago, as they are already outdated compared to combat conditions today.
The project aims to equip 35 F-16 Block 30 aircraft with a unique mission computer with national avionics and national OFP software. The modernization, according to Turkish sources, includes a national mission computer, system interface module, upper front control panel of the cockpit, hydraulic fuel gauge, engine shield, emergency indicator, national [Turkish] sound safety device, friend-enemy identification [IFF], multi-mode receiver, inertial navigation system.
The helmets of the Turkish pilots of the F-16 will also receive an upgrade, and it is expected that an integrated helmet targeting system, an indicator in the central cockpit, and a color multifunction display will be integrated.
New AESA radar
Last but not least, Turkey intends to modernize the AESA radar. As BulgarianMilitary.com announced back in March this year, the new Turkish AESA radar, which is being developed by Aselsan, will be able to search at long distances [not specified] and will be able to track the intercepted target, as well as multiple targets [not reported how many]. The radar will show weather conditions, detect a target, and assist the pilot during air combat.
Turkish AESA F-16 radar will measure the distance from the ground to the manned fighter jet, or to the target, thus possibly assisting Turkey’s ground forces or air defenses. It will detect and track moving ground targets, determine altitude, have an integrated SAR band, navigation system, and land map and will be able to search the sea.
According to sources, the radar will be able to participate in both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, making it multifunctional. Aselsan says it will integrate local target recognition software.
AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM
As we reported on May 14, very soon the Turkish F-16 fleet may receive the long-awaited update. According to information from Bloomberg, the US government may approve foreign sales of AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles [click here to learn more about AIM-120]. Sources claim that the administration of US President Joe Biden has sent an informal request to Congress for such a sale.
US-Turkey relations in international defense markets have deteriorated since Ankara decided to buy Russian S-400 air defense systems. Turkey has been dropped from the F-35 program, which expected at least 100 fifth-generation fighters. These relations also affected other activities in this area: the inability to renew the F-16 fleet, a ban on the export of American components used in Turkish systems, and a ban on the export of American engines used in Turkish helicopters.
Bloomberg writes that the United States is ready to rethink to some extent the continuation of future trade relations with Turkey. According to the prestigious business publication, the expected sale will be approximately $ 500 million.
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