Warplanes: March 19, 2000

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For the first time, the US will be selling a foreign country aircraft superior to the versions of the same airframe in service with US military forces. The UAE will buy 80 F-16C60s (i.e., Block 60) with overwing conformal fuel tanks (providing more range and less drag than American F-16s have with the external fuel tanks) and defensive electronics that will be the only ones flying designed to thwart Russian SA-10 and SA-12 anti-aircraft missiles. Total cost for the sale will be $6.4 billion. The electronically scanned radar in the F-16C60 will have a range of 70-80 miles against a 1m target; the current top US fighter (the F-15C) has a radar with a range of only 60 miles. Lockheed is trying to convince the US Air Force to buy some F-16C60s of its own, noting that the UAE has paid $1 billion toward the development cost.--Stephen V Cole

 


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