FORT WORTH, Texas/ Lockheed Martin has received a $1.2 billion contract from the U.S. government to produce 16 new F-16 Block 70 aircraft for the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF). The Undefinitized Contract Action award represents the first F-16 Block 70 sale and the first F-16 production programme to be performed in Greenville, South Carolina, Lockheed Martin said in a statement June 25.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is the first customer to procure the F-16 Block 70, the newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration.
“We value our long-standing relationship with the Kingdom of Bahrain and look forward to beginning production activities on their first Block 70 aircraft at our facility in Greenville,” said Susan Ouzts, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Programme. “This sale highlights the significant, growing demand we see for new production F-16s around the globe.”
Lockheed Martin expects F-16 production to create between 150 and 200 new jobs in Greenville. F-16 production also supports hundreds of U.S.-based Lockheed Martin engineering, procurement, sustainment and customer support jobs and thousands of U.S. supplier jobs. The F-16 supply chain is currently supported by 450 U.S. suppliers in 42 states.
Notably, Lockheed Martin is offering to build the Block 70 variant in India if the Indian Air Force (IAF) selects it. The company’s deal with Bahrain and some other countries will not be covered by production in India, as India is yet to take a decision, but according to Dr Vivek Lall, Vice President for Strategy and Business Development, India could build some 200 F 16 Block 70 for itself with substantial Transfer of Technology under the Government’s Make in India programme, and then build another 200 for export for which the company would assist.
The F-16 Block 70 features advanced avionics, a proven Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a modernized cockpit, advanced weapons, conformal fuel tanks, an automatic ground collision avoidance system, an advanced engine and an industry-leading extended structural service life of 12,000 hours.
The combat-proven F-16 continues to prove itself as the world’s most successful, combat-proven multi-role fighter. To date, 4,604 F-16s have been procured by 28 customers around the world. Approximately 3,000 operational F-16s are flying today with 25 leading air forces, including the U.S. Air Force.