Chile Awards $542M Contract to Lockheed Martin to Upgrade its F-16 Fleet. The comprehensive upgrades aim to extend the life and enhance the capabilities of Chile’s 44 F-16s as the country continues modernizing its military.
Details of the F-16 Upgrade Agreement
The contract award to Lockheed Martin involves upgrading Chile’s F-16 inventory to the latest M6.6 configuration. The $542 million deal encompasses new avionics, radars, weapons integration, and structural modifications.
Work will take place in Fort Worth, Texas as well as at Chilean facilities. The contract runs through November 2032, indicating the extensive nature of the upgrades.
The F-16 upgrades will provide Chile’s fleet with advanced new capabilities. This includes integrating Israeli-made Derby and Python air-to-air missiles.
The jets will also gain Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs, giving Chile precision ground attack abilities. Improved avionics and radars round out the major enhancements.
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Boosting Readiness and Service Life
The sweeping upgrades will significantly boost the readiness and service life of Chile’s F-16s. The fleet consists of older models from the Netherlands as well as 10 newer Block 50 jets.
The upgrades will provide Chile with a far more capable and sustainable F-16 force as the aircraft reach the end of their service lives in the 2030s timeframe.
Ongoing Chilean Military Upgrades
Chile has sought to enhance its military capacities amid a tense geopolitical climate in South America. Recent years have seen major naval, ground, missile defense, and radar upgrades.
The F-16 deal represents the next phase in this process. Chile aims to deter aggression through advanced platforms like the upgraded F-16s.
The comprehensive F-16 contract with Lockheed Martin positions Chile to maintain a robust air defense and strike force for years to come. The upgrades exemplify Chile’s military modernization efforts.