Indonesia May Order F-16s, Lockheed Martin Says
AeroBD | The AERO news Company…BEIJING, Nov. 13, 2015 : A possible contract from Indonesia may extend F-16 manufacturing into 2018, says Lockheed Martin, as the company works on filling an Iraqi order that may be the last for the biggest-selling fighter in current production. Although Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said in September that the country had chosen the Sukhoi Su-35 for its next fighter order, the deal has not been signed. The F-16 remains a contender, according to Randall Howard, Lockheed Martin’s business development director for the type. Indonesia is considering the fighter in its F-16V version, which includes the Northrop Grumman APG-83 radar, a sensor with an active, electronically scanning array.
Howard did not discuss the number of F-16s that Indonesia may order, but the minister has said the country would buy eight Su-35s. It previously wanted more so it could field a full squadron. As things stand, the last F-16 order is for a batch of 36 aircraft for Iraq. Deliveries have begun and are due to end in late 2017, winding up F-16 production 43 years after the type’s first flight. A batch of eight for Indonesia would extend production into 2018, but not further, unless they were built at an unusually low rate. Among Western supersonic fighters, only the F-4 Phantom, built from 1958-81, has exceeded the F-16’s production run of more than 4,500 aircraft.
The Su-35 and F-16V would both offer limited commonality with fighters that Indonesia is already operating. The country’s air force has 16 aircraft in two earlier versions of Sukhoi’s Flanker family and 10 F-16A/Bs. Lockheed Martin is upgrading the F-16A/Bs, modifying the radars to APG-68 (v) 9 standard and improving the mission computers and other avionics.The company also has opportunities for F-16 orders in the Middle East, South America and elsewhere in Asia, Howard says.