December 24, 2008 (by Asif Shamim) - Lockheed Martin completed a successful first flight of the F-16 Advanced block 52+ variant for Greece on December 5th.
HAF F-16C block 52 #001 is on a pre-delivery test flight when spotted on approach into NAS Fort Worth on December 12th, 2008. [Photo by Keith Robinson
The F-16 flew for one hour and landed safely at the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth. The initial flight assessed basic aircraft operation including flight controls, landing gear and environmental control, cockpit and basic avionics systems.
"The successful first flight of the F-16 Advanced block 52
+ is truly a major milestone in our continuing commitment to Greece
," said John Larson, Lockheed Martin vice president for F-16 programs. "This achievement further strengthens our bond, which spans 6 decades".
Greece's Peace Xenia IV program will supply the Hellenic Air Force
) with 20 single-seat and 10 two-seat aircraft and is the fourth Greek acquisition of the F-16. Production deliveries are scheduled through 2009.
Dennys Plessas, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' Vice President Business Development Initiatives, Europe, Middle East & Africa commented, "Our commitment to Greece and its Air Force is demonstrated by delivering on our promises. With this successful first flight we are confident that all 30 Adv. F-16 Block 52+ fighters will be delivered on schedule. Similarly, all infrastructure facilities prepared by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics at the Araxos Air Force Base in Greece are nearing completion and will be ready to receive these fighters in 2009 as planned."
The F-16 is the choice of 25 countries. More than 4,400 aircraft have been delivered worldwide from assembly lines in five countries. The F-16 program recently marked 30 years of continuous production. More than one-hundred additional aircraft are on order, and production is expected to continue through 2012 and beyond.