March 25, 2005 (by Susan Ferns) - The US Air Force has received the last of 2,231 F-16 (#01-7053) fighters manufactured for the service, the Air Force's Aeronautical Systems Center announced on Thursday.
Brig. Gen. Jeff Riemer delivers the last new Air Force F-16 at Shaw AFB March 18. General Riemer, who was the System Program Office director when the contract for F-16s was awarded, flew the Falcon from the Lockheed Martin plant in Forth Worth. While Lockheed will continue to produce F-16s for international coalition partners, this aircraft is the last of 2,231 F-16s produced for the Air Force. The first delivery was in 1978.
The general who was the F-16 System Program Office director at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, when the contract for the aircraft was awarded delivered the Air Force's last F-16 Fighting Falcon on March 18.
While Lockheed Martin Aero, Fort Worth, will continue to produce F-16s for international coalition partners, this aircraft is the last of 2,231 F-16s produced for the Air Force, officials said. The first delivery was in 1978.
Brig. Gen. Jeff Riemer, now the director of operations at the Air Force Materiel Command headquarters here, flew the jet from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth to Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.
"It seemed fitting for General Riemer to make this historic flight, and we were pleased that he was able to accept the invitation," said Col. Scott Jansson, Aeronautical Systems Center Fighter Attack Systems Wing's F-16 Systems Group commander.
For his part, General Riemer said that having flown the very first F-16B while stationed at Edwards AFB
, Calif., he is delighted to have had the opportunity to fly the last F-16 produced for the Air Force.
"(This F-16) is not your father's F-16," said Dan Mahrer, F-16 production program manager. "Originally designed as a lightweight, daytime interceptor, the F-16 Fighting Falcon has been transformed over the last 20 years into a multi-role, all weather, air-to-air and air-to-ground attack weapon system.
"Today's F-16 has significant combat capabilities. This (version of the) jet has a new computer, multifunctional color displays, an advanced (Identification Friend or Foe) interrogator, upgraded data link system and a new helmet with an automatic target-cueing system. It has been upgraded with the latest software and cutting-edge precision weapons," Mr. Mahrer said.
"Although this is the last new F-16 expected to be produced for the (Air Force), the F-16 Systems Group continues to technically transform the existing fleet of more than 1,300 jets, enabling evolutionary weapons delivery capabilities through 2025 and making possible a smooth transition to the F-35, the world's premier multi-role fighter of the future," Col. Jansson said.