Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $62,000,000,000 ten-year, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ), fixed-price-incentive contract for new production of F-16 Foreign Military Sale (FMS) aircraft. The initial delivery order is for 90 aircraft, including both the pre-priced recurring core configuration costs at $2,862,797,674 and the engineering change proposal contract action for the non-recurring costs not-to-exceed $2,078,307,572 obligated at approximately $1,018,370,710. This contract involves 100% FMS to FMS partner nations and is the result of a sole-source acquisition. U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.
The U.S. Air Force is seriously considering ordering more F-16 fighter jets, more than 42 years after the service received its first “Fighting Falcon.” The Air Force, which once vowed it would never buy a non-stealthy fighter again, appears to have had a change in heart. The extreme cost of stealthy fighters like the F-35 probably has something to do with it. The U.S. Air Force is reviewing its tactical air requirements for the 2020s and is giving real thought to purchasing more F-16s. The Air Force currently flies over 900 F-16s, including 783 single-seat F-16Cs and 151 F-16Ds. The average age of the F-16C fleet, per Air Force magazine, is 28.7 years.
The F-16 Falcon is a single-engine, supersonic fighter jet developed by General Dynamics and now manufactured by Lockheed Martin. It’s a multirole fighter aircraft, and according to Lockheed there are approximately 3,000 operational F-16s in service today with 25 countries. The fighters have been in production for over 40 years, totaling 4,588 aircraft. According to Lockheed the coming round of production will establish over 400 new jobs in Greenville, in addition to the positions involved for Lockheed Martin engineering, procurement, sustainment, and customer support functions, as well as more than 400 businesses that are F-16 program suppliers.
The latest version, known as F-16 Block 70/72 or F-16V, incorporates the new APG-83 AESA radar, infrared search and track targeting capability, a new flight control computer, and the new Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS), which prevents the plane from crashing into the ground if the pilot becomes unconscious or disoriented. The Air Force’s F-16 fleet was originally supposed to be replaced by the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, and the service never intended to buy a non-stealthy fighter again. The F-35 was supposed to be the F-16 of its time, but it appears the F-16 could once again repeat its role as a low-cost fighter—more than 40 years after it first entered service.