“Following F-16 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) structural modifications, the U.S. Air Force could safely operate Block 40-52 aircraft to 2048 and beyond,” the release said.
The modification program would boost the overall flight hours of the jet from 8,000 to 12,000, Lockheed said in a release.
The latest update comes after Air Force officials have said the F-16 is intended to replace the F-15C/D variants. Both the active-duty component and Air National Guard are considering retiring the Boeing-made Eagle.
The Air Force claims it has the capacity in the F-16C community “to recapitalize … radar to serve the same function as the F-15 has done and thereby reduce the different systems that we have to sustain and operate, so that makes it more efficient,” said Maj. Gen. Scott D. West.