USAF F-16s to get Major Life
FORT WORTH, TEXAS. The US Air Force F-16 jet fighters are set to get a major boost to their designed service life from the original 8,000 hours to a whopping 12,000 equivalent flight hours. Therefore, following the F-16 Service Life Extension Programme (SLEP) structural modifications, US Air Force could safely operate Block 40-52 aircraft to 2048 and beyond. The USAF and Lockheed Martin also reduced projected service life costs for the Block 40-52 fleet, paving the way for safe, cost-effective F-16 flight operations decades into the future.
“This accomplishment is the result of more than seven years of test, development, design, analysis and partnership between the US Air Force and Lockheed Martin,” said Susan Ouzts, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 programme. Combined with F-16 avionics modernisation programmes like the F-16V, SLEP modifications demonstrate that the Fighting Falcon remains a highly capable and affordable
4th Generation option for the US
Air Force and international F-16 customers.”
Validation of the extended flight hour limit directly supports the SLEP goal of extending the service life of up to 300 F-16C/D Block 40-52 aircraft. SLEP and related avionics upgrades to the
Air Force’s F-16C/D fleet can safely and effectively augment the current fighter force structure as US and allied combat air fleets recapitalise with F-35 Lightning IIs.
A second phase, or Part II, of the F-16 SLEP airworthiness process continues with the request for Military Type Certificate (MTC), which will be