Bahraini, American and Lockheed Martin officials today celebrated the first F-16V Block 70 for the Royal Bahraini Air Force today at Lockheed Martin in Greenville, South Carolina. The Kingdom of Bahrain has a unique history with the F-16: It was the first F-16 operator in the Gulf Cooperation Council beginning in the early 1990s, and now is receiving the first F-16V Block 70. This Block 70 jet is the first of 16 jets for Bahrain, and took its first flight on Jan. 24, 2023. From here, it will begin additional flight tests at Edwards Air Force Base before arriving in Bahrain in 2024.
“The F-16 celebrated today was built by our talented, committed workforce in Greenville. We are proud to call Greenville the global home of the F-16 and look forward to continuing to produce jets serving missions around the world,” said Danya Trent, vice president, F-16 Programs and Greenville site leader.
“Today’s ceremony represents the next generation of the powerful and proven legacy of the F-16, and 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,” said OJ Sanchez, vice president, Integrated Fighter Group.
Six countries have selected F-16V Block 70/72 (dubbed the “Viper”) aircraft. The F-16V will feature enhancements including an AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, an upgraded mission computer and architecture, and improvements to the cockpit. In addition to the current official backlog of 127 jets to-date to be built in Greenville, Jordan has signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for 12 jets and Lockheed Martin has received a contract to begin its 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 147.
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is an American single-engine multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics. In 1993, General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation, which in turn became part of Lockheed Martin after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta.Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin Corporation is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.