April 30, 2019 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Lockheed Martin signed an agreement in March with AIM Norway, an Oslo-based MRO services provider, to jointly establish the world’s first Lockheed Martin-licensed F-16 ‘Falcon Depot’ center for the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) and other regional F-16 customers.
The agreement will involve the establishment of a "Falcon Depot" centre, expanding on the existing MRO
capabilities offered by AIM Norway
at the site in Oslo. The centre will support the RNoAF
fleet of F-16s, as well as those operated by other European air forces.
The RNoAF operates 45 F-16A and 10 F-16B aircraft from bases at Bodø and Ørland. The aircraft entered service in the early 1980s and they have been receiving significant structural overhauls, including new wings, to enable their service life to be extended to 2023.
AIM Norway will also expand its activities at Norway’s Rygge Air Base, which has been selected by the F-35 Joint Program Office as an F135 engine MRO&U center. Lockheed is also the primary contractor for the F-35 program, and Norway is one of the program partners with the U.S. Dept. of Defense on that fighter jet program, as well. The RNoAF maintains nine F-35s and its F-35 fleet is expected to grow to 52 aircraft.
Lockheed Martin still continues to grow its F-16 customer base and sees new F-16 production opportunities totaling more than 400 aircraft. There are approximately 3,000 operational F-16s in service today with 25 countries. The company also opened a new F-16 production line in Greenville, South Carolina with F-16 Block 70 production scheduled for later this year.
AIM has played a major role in Norwegian
aviation industry since 1916. AIM Norway is represented with 380 employees and provides maintenance, repair - and modification services for aircraft, helicopters, components and field equipment to the Norwegian Armed Forces and other military and civilian organizations.