Lockheed Martin Corp.’s business segment, Aeronautics, recently clinched a foreign military sales (FMS) contract for manufacturing 16 F-16 V (Viper) Block 70 aircraft. The fixed-price-incentive-firm deal for 16 F-16V aircraft will run through to 30 September 2023. Work related to the deal is scheduled to be completed by Sep 30, 2020.
In terms of the Bahraini procurement, the proposed deal includes ancillary equipment, training, and support. The contract to modernise the existing aircraft includes a simulator, ancillary equipment, training, support, targeting pods, and limited quantities of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons. Valued at $1.1 billion, the contract was awarded by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Per the terms of the agreement, the F-16 jets will be delivered to the Kingdom of Bahrain. The production will be carried out in Greenville, SC; and Fort Worth, TX. Lockheed Martin will utilize FMS funds to complete the order.
The contract comes some nine months after the US State Department approved in September 2017 the sale to Bahrain of 22 new F-16Vs, and upgrades to its existing 20 F-16C/D Block 40 aircraft to bring them up to the same configuration. A contract for an undisclosed quantity of GE F110-GE-129 engines related to the wider F-16V procurement was award in November 2017.
Also referred to as the F-16 Block 70/72, the F-16V features the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar (derived from the F-16E/F Block 60 AN/APG-80 and also known as the Scalable Agile Beam Radar [SABR]), a new Raytheon mission computer, the Link 16 datalink, modern cockpit displays, an enhanced electronic warfare system, and a ground-collision avoidance system. Bahrain is the launch customer for this latest standard of F-16.
Another key feature of the F-16V configuration is the new Center Pedestal Display (CPD) developed by Elbit Systems of Americaa subsidiary of Israeli defense company. The CPD (also known as Common Color Multi-Function Display – CCMFDprovides critical tactical imagery to pilots on a high-resolution 6”x 8” screen. The display allows the pilot 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 digital display of Flight Instrument Data”. The CPD is also compatible with the Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) and it also comes with open modular architecture allowing easy integration of customer’s or third-party software applications.
Lockheed Martin expects this particular F-16 deal will create between 150 and 200 new jobs in Greenville, South Carolina. Currently, F-16 production 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 spread across 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.”