Feb 17, 2014

BAE Targets Lockheed in Asia's F-16 Upgrade Wars

BAE Systems is preparing to leapfrog over Lockheed Martin and gobble up international F-16 upgrade contracts should the US Air Force drop funding for its fighter jet radar upgrade program.
The Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite (CAPES) program — with Lockheed as systems integrator — would upgrade 300 US F-16 fighter aircraft and 146 Taiwan F-16s.
But budget constraints could force the US Air Force to transfer remaining funds from CAPES to the F-16 service-life extension program, raising the specter of increased prices for Taiwan if it has to go it alone on its F-16 upgrade program.
BAE already scored a victory in November by beating Lockheed for the contract to upgrade 134 South Korean KF-16C/D Block 52s.
Lockheed Martin’s head of F-16 business development, said that even if CAPES is defunded for the US jets, the Taiwan program would continue at the same cost.
Phase 1 of the CAPES program, the developmental phase, remains funded, but the production stage remains unclear.
BAE cut its teeth on F-16 upgrades in 2005 when it added a new fire control computer and other systems to US Air National Guard F-16s.

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