March 29, 1999 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems delivered the 3, 035th F-16 from Air Force Plant No. 4 located in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 26. This makes the F-16 the largest production program in the plant's history, surpassing the B-24.
The F-16 was already the longest-running program, considering that deliveries of the first version began in the late 1970s. The peak delivery month for F-16s from the Fort Worth plant was October1981 with 33 aircraft, and the peak year was 1987 when 284 F-16s were delivered. These rates are high by modern standards. Since its beginning, F-16 production rates have been the highest in the world for military aircraft outside Russia.
F-16s are currently produced at lower rates, and the outlook is good for deliveries to continue at moderate rates for another 10-12 years. Air Force Plant No. 4 is a government-owned, company-operated facility constructed in 1941-42. The facility has more than 7 million square feet of floor space, which includes a mile-long fabrication and assembly building and many state-of-the-art laboratories for development and test. The parent company name has changed several times starting with Consolidated, followed by Consolidated Vultee (in 1943), Convair (1947), General Dynamics (1953), Lockheed (1993) and Lockheed Martin (1995). The plant has a heritage of employing the latest technologies in both design and production of advanced, highly capable military aircraft.
The 3, 035th F-16 delivered from the Fort Worth line is a block 50
F-16Cfor the U.S. Air Force.
It is the2, 202nd F-16 delivered to USAF, 243 of which are the latest Block 50/52version. Worldwide, this milestone F-16 is the 3900th delivered. F-16s have been built on assembly lines in four other locations -- Belgium
and Korea -- with the latter two still performing final aircraft assembly.
Currently, F-16s are in various stages of production for USAF, Taiwan
, Turkey and Korea.