May 11, 1998 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The government of the United Arab Emirates today announced that it has selected Lockheed Martin's new F-16Block 60s as its advanced fighter aircraft. The total program including weapons and support is valued at approximately $7 billion. A contract with the U. A. E. is expected to be signed later this year. Aircraft deliveries are expected to begin in 2002. We understand the United States has also agreed to sell the Emirates HARM missiles designed to destroy enemy radars as well as advanced AMRAAM anti-aircraft missiles, both carried by the F-16. As of May 1, Lockheed Martin had delivered more than 3, 700 F-16 aircraft to the air forces of 19 countries. The company's contracted backlog as of May 1 includes orders for approximately 260 additional F-16s, not counting the 80 in the U. A. E. sale. The "block 60" is the most sophisticated version of the F-16. The export order, the first for this model, will secure some 30, 000 U.S. jobs.