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.
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........