UK-based defense contractor BAE Systems is hoping to lock down deals to upgrade Boeing‘s F-15 and F/A-18 jets in international markets amid their recent $1 billion contract with South Korea to upgrade that country’s substantial fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s.
According to Defense News, John Bean, Vice President, Global Fighter Programs for BAE, said at the Singapore Airshow that his company was looking to repeat the South Korea deal in Singapore, as well as expand into upgrading the two Boeing jets.
“We have made initial inquiries in Japan where they are formulating their [F-2 and F-15] requirements at this point. All the countries are trying to keep their acquisition plans quiet so we can’t comment too much, other than to say we are active in a number of countries,” Bean said.
As Bean noted, in the past, only the original equipment manufacturer performed upgrades to their own systems, but that has changed.
“We are working with radars and targeting pods that go on multiple fighters,” Bean said. “The Raytheon AESA [active electronically scanned array] radar we are fitting [on the F-16] in South Korea is common to the F/A-18 and F-15. It’s easy to take what we are doing because the F-16 is the smallest of the aircraft, so once we have a packaging that works for the Lockheed Martin aircraft, it’s pretty straightforward to make it work for the F-15 and F/A-18.”
“We are definitely in those markets as well as the F-16, although there isn’t as many of each aircraft [for upgrade],” Bean continued. “Where we are looking is a country like Singapore, which has the F-15 and F-16, or Japan that has F-15 and the F-2. It’s an opportunity to help them achieve logistics commonality between the two platforms with common avionics.”