UAE Signs Agreement
For Block 60 F-16 Desert Falcon
Officials of the United Arab Emirates and Lockheed Martin Corporation signed contractual agreements in March providing for the UAEs purchase of eighty F-16 aircraft and associated equipment for an estimated $6.4 billion. Pending US Congressional approval, the aircraft will be produced by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, in the new F-16 Block 60 configuration that incorporates advanced capabilities. The contract solidifies the UAEs May 1998 selection of the F-16 after a long and thorough process in which the Block 60 aircraft was evaluated against other advanced fighters including the Eurofighter Typhoon, Frances Rafale, and Boeings F-15E.
UAE Armed Forces Col. Obaid Al Ketbi, director of general purchasing, and Dain M. Hancock, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, announced the contract signing at a news conference held in conjunction with the Tridex 2000 Defense Exhibition in Abu Dhabi.
The UAEs particular version of the F-16 is named the Desert Falcon. Its equipment package consists of conformal fuel tanks for extended range, new cockpit displays, a new internal sensor suite, a new mission computer, and other advanced features including the Northrop Grumman agile beam radar for improved tracking of multiple targets. Special aircraft equipment will include a new integrated electronic warfare system supplied by Northrop Grumman, which will also supply the internal forward-looking infrared and targeting system.