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First Air Force: Upgraded F-16s needed urgently

FB: First Air Force files urgent request for radar upgrades. The radars put off by big Air Force needed now for Guard and Reserve F-16s tasked with protecting the homeland.

The Air Force's F-16s used for homeland protection need radar upgrades urgently, according to the commander of the group tasked with the mission. These are , the sameupgrades the service Air Force as a wholehas put off due to funding restrictions , according to the commander of the group tasked with the mission.

First Air Force, the numbered Air Force with the sole responsibility of ensuring air superiority and air sovereignty of the U.S., recently filed an "urgent operational need" request with the Air Force Requirements Council for fiscal 2015 funding for its related to its Aerospace Control Alert mission, Air Force Times has learned.

If the AF HQ hasnt asked for this, one would assume they think it's not necessary. And surely NG wants to do the upgrades. do we have any NG people saying they need this urgently? AF HQ DID NOT ASK, FIRST AIR FORCE/AF NORTH DID. URGENT OP REQUESTS COME FROM COMMANDERS. THIS COMMAND FILED THIS REQUEST FOR HIS F-16S. CONTRACTORS SAID THEY CAN DO IT, BUT THE MAIN POINT IS THE COMMANDER OF THE F-16S THAT FLY HOMELAND MISSIONS SAID HE NEEDS THIS UPGRADE NOW.

The request, specifically for Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Block 30 F-16s, seeks requests the installation of the Northrop Grumman APG-83 SABR active electronically scanned array radar. This radar was part of the combat avionics program extension suite that the Air Force dropped from its fiscal 2015 and 2016 budget requests both because of budget shortfalls.

The Air Force instead sought decided to request funding for F-16 service life extension programs and had put off the radar. N, though now the commander of First Air Force is requesting has requested the upgrade.

The Air Force, Air Combat Command and First Air Force officials declined to discuss the specifics of the request.

"Recently, the 1AF/AFNORTH Commander signed and issued an Urgent Operational Need request pertaining to the Aerospace Control Alert mission," the National Guard Bureau said in a statement. "While the specifics of the UON are classified, no specific material solution has been identified, and the [request] is presently under consideration by the Air Force for validation. The Air National Guard did not request, author or submit the [request], though we did coordinate with 1AF/AFNORTH per their requests to do so."

Urgent Operational Need requests are used to identify specific needs "during a current conflict or crisis situation that if not satisfied in an expedited manner, will result in unacceptable loss of life or critical mission failure," the Air Force said in a statement.

The overall goal is to deliver the requested capability within 180 days of a validated request. The Air Force Requirements Council is reviewing this request.

Lockheed Martin has fielded the upgraded radars on F-16Vs recently purchased by Taiwan, Roderick McLean, Lockheed's vice president and general manager of the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group, said in a recent interview.

The Air Force has not requested funding or said it formally needs the upgrades for its Block 40 and Block 50 F-16 fleet in the active duty, but has said it would like the upgrades if funding is available. Because Lockheed has been installing the systems already in F-16Vs, the contractor could be ready to install them for the U.S. fleet easily, McLean said.

"We are trying to convey to the U.S. Air Force that there is a low-cost approach to provide these for your block 40s and 50s," McLean said.

The Air Force's F-15 fleet is outfitted with new AESA radars.

The Air Force's original plan for the combat avionics programmed extension suite upgrade, which was included but ultimately not funded in the fiscal 2013 budget request, also included a new center display unit, communications equipment and an integrated broadcast service to collect information for the pilot. A Government Accountability Office report released in late 2012 estimated that the upgrades would cost about $1.8 billion for about 350 jets.

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