The first F-16 Block 70 aircraft for the Slovak Republic was unveiled at Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE: LMT) facility in Greenville, South Carolina, during a visit from the country’s Minister of Defence, Martin Sklenár. The Slovak Republic will be the first European country to receive this newest and most capable version of the Fighting Falcon. Slovakia signed for its F-16s in December 2018, in a EUR1.6 billion (USD1.8 billion at the time) procurement contract that also included Raytheon AIM-120C7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) and AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, as well as training and support.
“These F-16s will enable the Slovak Air Force to stay ahead of threats in the region, and be part of the allied mission in Europe, NATO and around the world. This jet represents the strong partnership between Lockheed Martin, the United States, the Slovak Republic and allies,” said OJ Sanchez, vice president, Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed Martin.
The F-16C/D Block 70/72 (F-16V) is the latest variant of the F-16, and 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. After the delivery of the F-16 fleet on order from the United States, Slovakia will be the first European country to receive and operate this newest and most capable version of the Fighting Falcon.
Once delivered, the F-16s will replace Russian-built MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ aircraft that Slovakia has already retired and donated to Ukraine. Alongside the Slovak Air Force’s new F-16 Fighter Jet Capability, the strategic partnership also offers other unique opportunities for industry involvement, including establishing cooperation between Slovakia’s state-owned Aircraft Repair Company Tren?ín (LOTN) and Lockheed Martin as F-16 manufacturer. In addition, LOTN will be responsible for introducing the Integrated Logistics Information and Automation System (ILIAS) to support the implementation and sustainment of Slovakia’s F-16 Block 70 fleet.