Lockheed Martin awarded contract to equip Taiwanese F-16A/Bs with Auto-GCAS

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a not-to-exceed $138,000,000 modification to contract FA8615‐12‐C‐6016 for the Peace Phoenix Rising 2 (PPR2) program. The contract modification is for the development and fielding of capabilities for the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System and AGM-88 High Speed Anti-radiation Missile; improvements in radar software maturity; an update to the Data Acquisition System; and Advanced Identification Friend or Foe for the Taiwan Retrofit Program F-16 Block 20 fleet.

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Lockheed Martin awarded contract to equip Taiwanese F 16ABs with Auto GCAS 01 Two F-16A Block 20 aircraft on a training mission over the Arizonan desert, seen from the backseat of an F-16B Block 20 (Picture source: ROCAF)

The Auto GCAS, developed jointly by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is designed to reduce incidents of what is known as controlled flight into terrain, or CFIT. According to U.S. Air Force statistics, CFIT incidents account for 26 percent of aircraft losses and a staggering 75 percent of all F-16 pilot fatalities.

According to Ed Griffin, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ program manager for the Automatic Collision Avoidance Technologies (ACAT) Fighter Risk Reduction Program, the system consists of a set of complex collision avoidance and autonomous decision making algorithms that utilize precise navigation, aircraft performance and on-board digital terrain data to determine if a ground collision is imminent. If the system predicts an imminent collision, an autonomous avoidance maneuver—a roll to wings-level and +5g pull—is commanded at the last instance to prevent ground impact.

The Auto GCAS executes in the background and automatically provides protection whether the pilot is distracted, task-saturated, incapacitated, or unconscious. No action is required by the pilot, though the system does have a pilot override function.

Taiwan intends to fit the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS) on its F-16A/B fleet after a fatal crash in November last year. 

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas; and Taiwan, and is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2022. This modification involves 100% Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and is the result of a sole-source acquisition. FMS funds in the amount of $67,620,000 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright‐Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin awarded contract to equip Taiwanese F 16ABs with Auto GCAS 03 (Picture source: Lockheed Martin)