Code One, Volume 11, Number 1, January 1998 Page: 6
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is aware of our beyond-visual-range missiles and other
capabilities. They react accordingly and test us to our
According to the OT&E test pilots, the improved radar
and the AIM-120 AMRAAM capability have the largest
effect on tactics. The non-MLU F-16s, now more often
referred to as OCU F-16s, can launch and guide only one
AMRAAM at a time. The MLU F-16s can launch multiple
AMRAAMs and guide them at longer ranges with an
improved version of the APG-66, called the APG-66(V)2.
"We have at least doubled our air-to-air capability with
MLU," Koolstra says. "I won't say we are twice as good,
because the outcome still depends on pilot skill. The sys-
tem, though, is twice as good. The radar provides a thirty
to 100 percent increase in situational awareness, depend-
ing on weather, altitude, and terrain conditions. The radar
is a real bright spot in the program. It outperforms its
specifications by a considerable margin."
"The biggest improvement with MLU to the pilot is the
radar and the improved AMRAAM capability that goes
along with it," agrees Vaerten. "Other improvements I like
include the better navigation accuracy we get with the
global positioning system, which gives us the ability to find
small targets on the ground; the horizontal situation dis-
play, which increases a pilot's situational awareness; and
the new radar air-to-ground modes."
Vaerten also likes the overall improvement in the F-16's
pilot-vehicle interface that comes with the MLU. "The
color displays, the new 'hands-on' throttle and stick con-
trols, the up-front controls, and the wide-angle head-up dis-
play all give a pilot more information and more options,"
he says. "We don't have to look down into the cockpit as
we did with the OCU F-16. The wider head-up display pro-
vides a better view of combat modes. The radar display in
the MLU aircraft is placed higher in the cockpit. It is
between the knees in the OCU, so we have to look down
to see it. We can discern multiple symbols placed closer
together with the color displays. Control of the interroga-
tor, jammer, and anything else we need in the heat of
combat is on the throttle and stick."
"The multifunction display concept is completely new
for our F-16s," adds Capt. Mark Scheers, another Belgian
OT&E pilot at Leeuwarden. "Our OCU F-16s have only a
stores management display and a radar scope. The OCU
does not have options for other displays on the screens."
"The MLU cockpit is totally different," says Maj. EA.
Evensen, a Norwegian test pilot. "A pilot needs a couple of
months to fully adjust to the new cockpit-not just to fly
the airplane with it, but to get used to the best way to
employ all of the new systems. The automation takes care
of a lot, but it still takes more effort to become comfortable
with all of the new capabilities."
"The radar and the global positioning system were easy
to incorporate because these systems are very mature,"
Koolstra explains. "We are still on a learning curve with
some of the newer systems and with the systems unique to
MLU F-16s. The advanced interrogator capability is com-
ing along. The improved data modem has been a chal-
lenge, though. It looks easy because it is similar to a radio
and modem, and a similar system already works well in
the Block 50 F-16. But the Block 50 modem operates in an
air-to-ground mode only. We've learned that air-to-air
modes for such systems are more complex."
Many of these new capabilities are made possible by the
modular mission computer. The computer replaces three
other computers, takes up only half the space of the hard-
ware it replaces, weighs fifty percent less, has faster pro-
cessing with large growth capacity, and uses forty percent
less power. The computer has forty-seven times more pro-
cessing power and more than twelve times the memory of
the systems it replaces.
"The modular mission computer is an enabler," Koolstra
explains. "I cannot say the MMC has given us a specific
capability. It has given us the ability to increase capability.
The computer allows us to maintain room to grow, which
is extremely important."
6 January 1998
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Lockheed Martin Astronautics (Firm). Code One, Volume 11, Number 1, January 1998, periodical, January 1998; Fort Worth, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth1023905/m1/8/: accessed April 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth.