The U.S. government has okayed a potential sale of 19 F-16V “Viper” aircraft to Bahrain, along with the upgrade of the country’s existing fleet of 20 F-16 Block 40s.
The U.S. State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Bahrain of 19 Lockheed Martin F-16V aircraft with support, at an estimated cost of $2.8bn, along with the upgrade of its existing fleet of 20 F-16 Block 40 aircraft to the F-16V configuration, at an estimated cost of $1.1bn.
The Viper configuration (which is offered on new-build aircraft and as a retrofit) includes Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar — also part of the F-16 Block 70 package currently on offer to India.
Other features of the F-16V, which made its first flight in October 2015, include a new cockpit Center Pedestal Display, a modernized mission computer, a high-capacity Ethernet data bus, and other missions systems enhancements that add significant combat capabilities.
Among other countries to have shown interest in the F-16V, Taiwan started upgrading its 144 ageing F-16 A/Bs to the Viper configuration in January. Indonesia is another target customer.