InterConnect’s previous article described which areas inside an F-16 house the most problematic wiring harnesses. The purpose of this article is to get more precise by listing F-16 wiring harness part numbers as well as the areas they are generally located.
InterConnect offers many wiring harness replacement programs, sometimes calling them rewire programs. InterConnect’s most popular F-16 rewire program is for wing Leading Edge (LE) wiring harnesses. InterConnect has built more of these wiring harnesses than any other. The total list of rewire programs that InterConnect offers is: (1) Wing LE Flap, (2) Falcon Wire, (3) wiring harnesses replaced at the same time as the Service Lift Extension Program (SLEP), (4) H16DW2602 (the largest wiring harness on older F-16s), (5) Flight Control wiring harnesses, and (6) Convoluted Tubing Fuel Cell Area Wiring Harnesses. Additionally, F-16 pylon wiring harnesses have Kapton insulated wire and should be considered for rewiring.
The prefix for F-16 wiring harnesses is H16DW. There are about 350 wiring harnesses in each F-16. F-16 wiring harnesses can be grouped into four categories: (1) trunk wiring harnesses (these are the larger ones that are the most common), (2) power feeders (these are usually very small but have large gauge wire), (3) coax or Radio Frequency (RF) wiring harnesses, and (4) panel harnesses (these are installed inside of electrical box assemblies such as cockpit panels). For a Block 15 F-16, Table 1 displays the number of harnesses in each category.
When people ask, “How many wiring harnesses are in an F-16?” generally they are not including the wiring harnesses inside of the boxes (such as the matrix assemblies, the power distribution panels, the cockpit panels, etc.); thus, InterConnect’s response is usually 250 wiring harnesses (trunk plus coax plus power feeders).
InterConnect Wiring has shared many educational articles that describe some of the reasons to replace old F-16 wiring harnesses. To sum them all up, the main reason is this: older F-16s were made with Kapton insulated wire. After Kapton gets old and brittle it starts to have nicks in the insulation. The nicks, in turn, can lead to arcing between wires. Arcing can lead to intermittent problems in aircraft systems. When the arcing gets bad, arc tracking fires can occur which can ultimately result in aircraft mishaps including the total loss of the aircraft and crew.
Many years ago, the US Navy did multiple Kapton wiring replacement programs for their aircraft. InterConnect won a large contract from the US Coast Guard to replace Kapton wiring on their MH-60 helicopters. The US Army also followed suit and did wiring harness replacement of their Kapton wiring. InterConnect won numerous contracts to totally replace Kapton wiring on UH-60 Alpha model helicopters. Finally, the US Air Force started undertaking Kapton wiring harness replacement on their aircraft; especially F-15 C/D models. InterConnect won a large contract to supply over 70 ship sets of F-15 wiring harnesses to replace all the Kapton on those aircraft. Finally, and just recently, the US Air Force has decided to replace many wiring harnesses on F-16 aircraft while SLEP is being implemented on their Block 40 and 50 F-16s. Hence, now all the US armed services have rewired Kapton insulated wiring harnesses on various fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.
InterConnect has been a part of many of the US armed services rewire programs. Now, InterConnect has taken the lead role in educating F-16 operators and maintainers throughout the world about Kapton issues. As a part of this effort, InterConnect has developed a list of F-16 wiring harnesses that should be replaced on 20+ year-old F-16s. These wiring harnesses, shown in Table 2, are listed in order of importance.