Current Lockheed Martin F-16 Versions Are Most Advanced Multi-Role Fighters Available Today
FARNBOROUGH, England.- The two versions of the F-16 being delivered to customers today are the most advanced multi-role fighter aircraft types currently available on the international market and are building on the F-16’s reputation for effectiveness and value, the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] vice president for the program said today.
“The F-16 continues as a modern, highly capable, affordable and supportable fighter. The program is healthy and full of activity, with firm production through 2012 and a strong likelihood of new orders that will extend the line for several more years,” said John Larson, vice president for F-16 programs, in remarks to reporters at the Farnborough Air Show.
Larson said there are current backorders for about 98 F-16 aircraft, plus a strong possibility Lockheed Martin will gain 200-400 further orders during the next few years.
Recent F-16 program milestones have included the 4,400th F-16 delivered for Poland and a recent contract for 24 new Advanced Block 52 F-16s for Morocco, the newest member of the F-16 family.
In addition to the F-16 production programs, Lockheed Martin continues to develop and integrate advanced technologies to upgrade programs for existing F-16 aircraft 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,” Larson said. “This technology will provide a natural bridge from 4th Generation of fighters to the 5th Generation.”
Aircraft now being produced for Poland, Israel, Greece and Pakistan are in the Advanced Block 50/52 F-16C/D configuration. The United Arab Emirates was the launch customer for the Block 60 F-16 version, which has the type designation – F-16E/F – and is the most sophisticated configuration of the F-16 produced to date.
Larson said both new versions have the latest technologies and capabilities – including AESA radar and around-the-clock, all-weather, standoff, autonomous, air intercept and precision strike. These aircraft have the latest in avionics, sensors and weapons, plus user-friendly cockpits and integrated systems that provide pilots with high situation awareness.
Both types have features that extend mission range, persistence and payload – including internal electronic countermeasures equipment and optional conformal fuel tanks. The aft cockpit of the two-place versions of both types serves either as a weapon system operator station or an instructor pilot station.
“Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force are totally committed to modification and sustainment of the worldwide F-16 fleet. We recognize that we have a serious obligation to support our customers in their missions, and we also recognize fleet sustainment as a growing business opportunity,” Larson said.
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