F-16 deliveries near resumption

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basher54321

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Unread post09 Nov 2022, 23:12

F-16 deliveries near resumption, as Bahrain’s lead Block 70 jet takes shape
9 November 2022

Instead of dying out as Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II scoops up an increasing number of international orders, the manufacturer’s older F-16 is enjoying a late-life revival.

Having established a new final assembly line for the F-16 in Greenville, South Carolina, the US airframer is now within months of delivering its first customer example of the type since it in 2017 transferred the last to be completed at its Fort Worth site in Texas.

[...]

Lockheed declines to outline its planned delivery schedule beyond the first RBAF aircraft, referring questions about such FMS transactions to the US government. Likewise, it directs queries regarding Manama’s plan to also modernise its in-service F-16s to the customer. However, it notes: “Regarding upgrades for the current fleet, we know this remains a priority for Bahrain.”

The US Department of State in September 2017 gave its approval for a potentially $1 billion project to update the RBAF’s Block 40-standard aircraft – which are aged between 20 and 32 years – to the V-model standard.

Lockheed says its upgrade and sustainment programmes “help ensure the F-16 can operate for decades to come and support our customers’ national defence, regional security and interoperability with the United States”.

Meanwhile, asked about the task of establishing its new assembly facility in Greenville against the backdrop of a global pandemic, Lockheed confirms: “We have experienced some supplier challenges, many of which were Covid-19 related, as well as challenges with starting a new production line in a new location, and staffing challenges related to a competitive labour market.

[...]

“Based on that level of demand, we see production opportunities in Greenville well into the late 2020s and beyond as additional customers select the F-16,” Trent says.[/i]

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/defence/f- ... 4.articleS
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Unread post24 Jan 2023, 20:58

GREENVILLE, S.C., Jan. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] today announced the successful first flight of the F-16 Block 70 at its Greenville, South Carolina site.

The flight occurred Jan. 24 at 9:17 a.m. ET, with Lockheed Martin test pilots Dwayne "Pro" Opella and Monessa "Siren" Balzhiser at the helm. Total flight time was approximately 50 minutes and included airworthiness checks, such as engine, flight control and fuel system checks, as well as basic aircraft handling.

"Today's successful flight is a testament of the hard work, dedication and commitment to our customers and their missions," said OJ Sanchez, vice president, Integrated Fighter Group, which includes the F-16 program. "This milestone demonstrates Lockheed Martin's commitment to advancing this program and getting this much-needed aircraft and its advanced 21st Century Security capabilities to the warfighter."

This F-16 Block 70 jet is the first of 16 jets to be delivered to Bahrain. Six countries have selected Block 70/72 aircraft. In addition to the current official backlog of 128 jets to-date to be built in Greenville, Jordan last year signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for eight jets and last week signed an additional LOA for four more jets. Lockheed Martin has received a contract to begin Jordan's long-lead activities. Bulgaria has also signed an LOA for an additional eight jets for its fleet. Once these are finalized, the backlog will increase to 148.
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F-16D Block 70 first flight 24 Jan 2023 (Lockheed Martin)

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