The upgrade program for 85 F-16 fighter airplanes to the Block 70/72 Viper standard will be formally launched on Monday, Lockheed Martin’s VP Business Development Initiatives in Europe Dennis Plessas said at a press conference in Thessaloniki.
At a presentation of Lockheed Martin during the Thessaloniki International Fair, Plessas explained the timetable of the upgrade and said “a great part of the upgrade will take place in Greece”.
The first two years will be spent on engineering for the prototype and the registration of the systems. The installation on Greek fighter jets will take place during the third year of the program, and the Hellenic Airforce pilots will be trained in the fourth year. The training is anticipated to be brief, as he said, because of the expertise of Greek fighter pilots.
The upgrade of the 85 warplanes to Vipers “will provide the Hellenic Airforce with an entirely new aircraft, as the only element we shall keep is the fuselage”, Plessas said.
He added that the F-16s and the fifth-generation F-22 and F-35 share some technology, including the new radars to be installed (digital sweeping model APG-83).
Among other issues, Plessas said that 70% of the Hercules transport planes’ latest edition, J, delivered by Lockheed Martin to Australia “ was made by Greek hands”.