The F-16 fleet began receiving the M3+ (M3 is the designation for European Air Forces) software version upgrade in the summer of 2004. The joint software development was carried out by the USAF and European Air Forces since 2000. The follow-on release (M4/M4+) is scheduled for 2007 and 2009 (M5/5+).
Software upgrades are being implemented in the field, on 200 USAF Block 50 F-16C/D‘s already equipped with Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP) modifications. Software upgrades for some 400 Block 40 F-16C/Ds is scheduled to begin in 2006 during depot maintenance cycles. The M3 software will be installed on approximately 350 EPAF F-16A/Bs that have already undergone the F-16A/B Mid-Life Update modification and are now receiving hardware changes associated with the M3 upgrade. The M3 modification will take place at depot facilities in each country.
A major new capability offered with the M3+ are Link 16 data link and the helmet-mounted cueing system (HMCS). The USAF F-16s also will be receiving a capability to deliver the Lockheed Martin AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM). The software is also compatible with the Lockheed Martin Sniper XR targeting pod recently certified on the F-16 for the USAF and Norway. The European F-16s will gain the capability to deliver the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).
Additional Parts of this article :
- Advanced F-16 Block 50/52/60
- Modernization of the F-16 Fleet
- F-16 Software Upgrade