US approves sale of F-16 upgrades for South Korean Air Force

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Korea to upgrade its F-16 Block 32 aircraft with Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) and Link 16 Tactical Datalink (TDL) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $194 million.

US Approves Sale of F 16 Upgrades for South Korean Air Force South Korean KF-16 takes off Seosan Air Base, South Korea during an exercise on Aug. 20, 2014 (Picture source: US AirForce)

The Republic of Korea has requested to upgrade its F-16 Block 32 aircraft with Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) and Link 16 Tactical Datalink (TDL). Included are ARC-238 radios; AN/APX-126 Combined Interrogator Transponders; Joint Mission Planning (JMPS) upgrade; KY-58M secure voice module; Simple Key Loader (SKL) crypto fill devices; Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory (PMEL); aircraft ferry support; training; Computer Program Identification Number System (CPINS); flight manuals; flight tests; integration support and test equipment; U.S. Government and contractor, engineering, technical and logistics support services; sustainment and other support equipment; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated cost is $194 million.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by meeting legitimate security and defense needs of one of the U.S.’s closest allies in the INDOPACOM Theater. The Republic of Korea is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and a key partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in the region. It is vital to U.S. national interests to assist the Republic of Korea in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability.

The proposed sale will improve the Republic of Korea's capability to meet current and future threats by increasing its interoperability with U.S. Air Force and other coalition forces through an improved datalink and Mode 5 IFF, producing a more effective Alliance for its F-16 fleet. The Republic of Korea will have no difficulty absorbing this upgrade into its armed forces.

The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin Corporation, Bethesda, MD.