The US Air Force has struck up a partnership with Lockheed Martin Corporation to collaborate on a new production line for the F-16 Block 70/72 fighter at a Lockheed Martin facility in Greenville, South Carolina.
The first batch of new F-16s is expected to become available for purchase in 2022, and production is expected to continue until 2026. These aircraft will help bolster foreign military sales.
F-16 to Boost Foreign Military Sales
Col. Brian Pearson, team lead for F-16 foreign military sales, highlighted the importance of the new production line for demand around the world.
“There are 25 nations operating F-16s today, and they have a lot of expertise with the airframe. The line helps us meet the global demand that a number of nations have for [F-16] aircraft and gives us the additional capability to provide the aircraft to countries interested in purchasing it for the first time,” he explained.
Col. Pearson is also with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Fighter and Advanced Aircraft Directorate, which is spearheading efforts to build and deliver the new models.
The Air Force is also reviewing additional requests for F-16s from other military partners.
Aside from building new F-16s, the Fighters and Advanced Aircraft Directorate is working to modernize 405 F-16s currently operated by four partner nations.
World’s Last F-16 Production Site
In 2017, Lockheed Martin announced that it would transfer the production of F-16s from its Fort Worth, Texas, facility to Greenville. They followed through with the move later in the year.
Greenville is currently the sole production facility for F-16s.