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F-16 is most advanced 4th gen fighter

July 20, 2010 (by John R. Kent) - The versions of the F-16 being delivered to customers now are the most advanced 4th Generation multi-role fighter aircraft currently available on the international market and are building on the F-16's reputation for effectiveness and value, the Lockheed Martin director of business development for the program said today.

UAEAF F-16E block 60 #3033 from the 148th FS lands at Nellis AFB following a Red Flag 09-5 training mission on August 27th, 2009. [USAF photo by TSgt. Michael R. Holzworth]

"The F-16 continues as a modern, highly capable, affordable and supportable fighter. The program is healthy and active, with firm production through 2013 and a strong likelihood of new orders that will extend the line for several more years," said Bill McHenry, director of business development for F-16 programs, in remarks to reporters at the Farnborough International Airshow. McHenry also added that there is a firm backlog of 86 F-16 aircraft, including a recent order from Egypt for 20 new, Advanced Block 50/52 aircraft, the sixth follow-on buy for this country.

More than 4,450 F-16s have been delivered worldwide since the program's inception more than 30 years ago – including 53 follow-on buys by 14 countries.

In addition to the F-16 production programs, Lockheed Martin continues to develop the F-16 for the future by integrating advanced technologies through upgrade programs for existing F-16s to ensure interoperability with the world’s only 5th Generation fighters, the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.

"This integration of advanced technologies for fielded and new aircraft provides an opportunity for F-16 operators to benefit from the latest developments in technology and capabilities for fighter aircraft," McHenry said. "This synergy will parallel technology and provide a natural bridge from the 4th Generation of fighters to the 5th Generation."

Aircraft now being produced for Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco and Egypt are the Advanced Block 50/52 F-16C/D configuration. The United Arab Emirates was the launch customer for the block 60 F-16 E/F version, and is the platform basis for the proposed variant called the F-16IN Super Viper for the Indian Air Force’s Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft competition.

McHenry said the F-16 offers the latest technologies and capabilities available today – including AESA radar, day-night, all-weather, standoff, autonomous, air intercept and precision strike. These aircraft have the latest in avionics, sensors and weapons, plus user-friendly cockpits and systems integration that provide pilots with high situational awareness.

Courtesy of Lockheed Martin

Additional images:

PAF F-16D block 52 #10801 seen air-to-air on September 30th, 2009 during its 2nd flight. The USAF is set to deliver the first of 18 new F-16C/D block 52's to the Pakistan Air Force. [Lockheed Martin photo]

UAEAF F-16E block 60 #3028 flies over Southern Arizona on August 11th, 2009 before heading to the country's first Red Flag at Nellis AFB. The 162nd FW at Tucson IAP maintains and operates a squadron of block 60s for the purpose of training the UAEAF in the advanced multi-role fighter. [Photo by James Haseltine]