After four years, Lockheed Martin completes the new F-16 fighter

First F-16 Block 70/72 was produced in Greenville and will be delivered to the Bahrain Air Force

After a hiatus of about four years, Lockheed Martin has completed assembly of a new F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter. The Block 70/72 aircraft belongs to the Bahrain Air Force and was produced at the company’s new factory in Greenville, in South Carolina. The first flight of the fighter is scheduled for early 2023.

F-16 production was halted in 2018 at Lockheed Martin’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, to make room for the new assembly line for the F-35 Lightning II, which became the focus of the facility.

In the meantime, the US company has set up an additional plant in Greenville to continue production of the F-16. The unit opened in 2021.

According to Lockheed, the new production line in South Carolina is set to build at least another 128 Block 70/72 F-16s by the end of this decade for five customers.

In addition to Bahrain, the new F-16s will be assembled for Slovakia, Bulgaria, Taiwan and an as-yet-unidentified customer. Another country negotiating the acquisition of the fighter is Jordan, which plans to purchase eight aircraft.

F-16 old assembly line in Fort Worth (LM)

Last variant of the F-16

The Block 70/72 is probably the last variant of the F-16, whose production should end definitively in mid-2030, when the US Air Force (USAF) intends to deactivate its aircraft – the most modern F-16s of the USAF are of the Block 50 variant, delivered until 2005.

The latest F-16s, however, may be the longest-lived in the series. One of the improvements included in the Block 70/72 are structural reinforcements that extend the useful life of the aircraft to 12,000 hours, 50% more than previous versions of the fighter. Therefore, fighter jets produced in this decade could remain in service until 2060 or beyond.

YF-16 first flight in 1974 (GD)

Other features in the updated version of the F-16 are the AESA (electronically scanned) radar, new electronic warfare suite, mission computer with greater processing capacity, renovated cockpit with larger and color displays, improved engine, inclusion of fuel tanks additional wings, ability to use more advanced weapons, among others.

Originally designed by General Dynamics, the F-16 first flew nearly 50 years ago on January 20, 1974. In 1993, the program was taken over by the then Lockheed Corporation, which would later change its name to Lockheed Martin, after merging with the Martin Marietta Corporation in 1995. Currently, the fighter is in service in 25 countries.

Related Posts

75 years have passed since the first flight of the Spruce Goose, and it never flew again

The year 2022 was significant for a number of important anniversaries. Naturally, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the BMW M division. However, there is one…

The only helicopter carrier in the world that can hold F-35B

The first time fixed-wing aircraft have flown from a Japanese battleship since World War II occurred on October 3 when two Marine Corps F-35B Lighting II Joint…

The world is astounded by the new American superfighter jet

The world was astounded by this nation’s new superfighter jet. Developers seek to imbue well-known techniques with extra qualities that enhance their applicability. The advancement of military…

Each hour of flight in the SR-71 Blackbird cost $200,000

The SR-71 Blackbird was a long-range reconnaissance plane with remarkable performance characteristics: Mach 3 speed, and 85,000 service ceiling, and an 11,820 foot per minute rate of climb. The SR-71 was so fast that…

The Russian Tu-160, the largest and fastest supersonic bomber ever built, is bombing Ukraine

The Tu-160 Soviet-era bomber is still menacing Ukraine. This Russian titan even fired missiles at Kyiv recently. The Tu-160 was designed for a nuclear war with the United States, now it…

Whaoo! The A380 LANDING AIRBUS monster makes foes seem formidable due to its “smooth” flight

This might be the smoothest Airbus A380 landing I have ever seen. Would be nice to know if the passengers even felt any kind of impact while…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *