Lockheed Martin received a $1.12 billion contract from the U.S. government to produce 16 new F-16 Block 70 fighter aircraft for the Royal Bahraini Air Force.
The Undefinitized Contract Action award represents the first F-16 Block 70 sale and the first F-16 production program to be performed in Greenville, South Carolina.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is the first customer to procure the F-16 Block 70, the newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration, combining numerous capability and structural upgrades.
“We value our long-standing relationship with the Kingdom of Bahrain and look forward to beginning production activities on their first Block 70 aircraft at our facility in Greenville,” said Susan Ouzts, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Program. “This sale highlights the significant, growing demand we see for new production F-16s around the globe.”
Lockheed Martin expects F-16 production to create between 150 and 200 new jobs in Greenville. F-16 production also supports hundreds of U.S.-based Lockheed Martin engineering, procurement, sustainment and customer support jobs and thousands of U.S. supplier jobs. The F-16 supply chain is currently supported by 450 U.S. suppliers in 42 states.
The combat-proven F-16 continues to prove itself as the world’s most successful, combat-proven multi-role fighter. To date, 4,604 F-16s have been procured by 28 customers around the world. Approximately 3,000 operational F-16s are flying today with 25 leading air forces, including the U.S. Air Force.
The F-16 Block 70 features advanced avionics, a proven Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar (Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar, SABR), a modernized cockpit, advanced weapons, conformal fuel tanks (CFT), an automatic ground collision avoidance system (Auto GCAS), an advanced engine and an industry-leading extended structural service life of 12,000 hours.
APG-83 AESA radar delivers greater situational awareness, flexibility and quicker all-weather targeting. The APG-83 provides pilots with unprecedented target area detail and digital map displays that can be tailored with slew and zoom features. The APG-83 provides F-16s with 5th Generation fighter radar capabilities by leveraging hardware and software commonality with F-22 and F-35 AESA radars.
Another key feature of the F-16 Block 70 configuration is the new Center Pedestal Display (CPD), which provides critical tactical imagery to pilots on a high-resolution 6”x 8” screen. The high-resolution display allows pilots to take full advantage of AESA and targeting pod data. The new CPD enables color moving maps, larger and easier to manage air-to-air Situation Displays, zoom functionality with the ability to switch information among displays, and a digital display of Flight Instrument Data. The CPD is also compatible with the Night Vision Imaging System.
Auto GCAS) was purpose-built to prevent deadly crashes and has already saved the lives of seven pilots and six F-16s since the system entered service with the U.S. Air Force in late 2014. The Auto GCAS is designed to reduce incidents of what is known as controlled flight into terrain, or CFIT. According to U.S. Air Force statistics, CFIT incidents account for 26 percent of aircraft losses and a staggering 75 percent of all F-16 pilot fatalities.