F-16 Fighting Falcon News

History comes to a close - Last F-16 produced in USAF plant nr. 4

September 15, 2017 (by Bjorn Claes) - The last F-16 to be produced at the United States Air Force plant nr. 4 has been finished and will be delivered to the Iraqi air force in early 2018. The jet was part of a 36 aircraft order by Iraq.

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IqAF F-16C block 52 #1636 is parked inside a hangar at Lockheed Fort Worth. This aircraft is a milestone since it concludes almost 40 years of consequent F-16 production at the plant. [USAF photo]

Since Lockheed needs more space to produce the brand-new F-35 fighter, it has decided to move the production of the F-16 - if new orders would come to fruition - to Greenville, South Carolina.

This decision ends production of the most popular Western fighter after more than four decades. Since December 13th, 1973, when the first F-16 prototype #72-1567 rolled out of the factory and September of 2017 exactly 3640 F-16s were build at the site. Untill 1992 the F-16 was built by General Dynamics and afterwards by Lockheed (who took over General Dynamics' Fort Worth Convair division in that year).

Some remarkable facts. Over an almost 44-year stretch, a total of 3640 F-16s were produced. The most F-16s ever to produced in a year was 286 airframes, which happened in 1987. This equates to more than one F-16 per day being produced at that time. Since that hayday, production dwindled over the years, but always kept a steady pace. Although production stops at Fort Worth, the F-16 keeps to be an attractive fighter, recently winning an order for 19 additional airframes for Bahrain. These will be built in Greenville from late 2019, early 2020 onwards.

So the story continues........


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    Additional images:

    The very first YF-16 #72-1567 is being assembled manually at the General Dynamics' Fort Worth plant in 1973. [GD photo]

    Roll-out of YF-16 #72-1567 on December 13th, 1973 at Fort Worth. [GD photo]