December 22, 2001 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Israel has formally agreed to purchase another 52 F-16 multi-role fighters from the United States. The Israeli agreement exercises an option to pay Lockheed Martin $1.3 billion for the F-16s. The total sale - which will include engines and subsystems - will amount to $2 billion.
Impression of new Israeli F-16I [LMTAS
Lockheed Martin said on Thursday that the F-16s will be assembled at its Forth Worth plant. The company said significant coproduction of airframe and avionics components will take place in Israel
The company said the first F-16I will be delivered in 2003.
The F-16I aircraft are of the same two-seat configuration as the original Peace Marble V program. Many of the electronic systems are being developed and produced in Israel. The aircraft will be powered by the F100-PW-229 engine.
Production deliveries of the optional aircraft will dovetail with those of the original Peace Marble V program.
This is Israel's sixth acquisition of F-16s, and it possesses the largest fleet of F-16s outside the United States.