After a years hiatus, Lockheed Martin has delivered a new F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter. The first of 16 F-16 Block 70 jets from the Royal Bahraini Air Force was received in a symbolic ceremony held on March 10 in Greenville, South Carolina, where the aircraft’s new assembly line is located.
From now on, the fighter jet, which flew for the first time on January 24, will travel to the California desert to carry out more tests at Edwards Air Force Base. The new F-16 will only arrive in Bahrain in 2024, according to Lockheed Martin.
“With the Block 70 iteration, we are transforming 4th generation for the next generation for the Royal Bahraini Air Force and other partners and allies around the world,” said OJ Sanchez, vice president, Integrated Fighter Group.
Lockheed Martin claims to have 128 firm orders for the F-16 Block 70, in addition to two Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOA), one with Jordan for 12 aircraft, and another with Bulgaria, which is interested in eight jets.
The F-16 has been produced since it was launched in the 1970s in Fort Worth, Texas, but in 2018 Lockheed Martin closed the assembly line at the factory to prepare it to assemble the F-35 Lighting II fighter.
In the meantime, the Greenville unit was chosen to resume production of the F-16 in the Block 70 variant, quoted as the last of the fighter originally developed by General Dynamics.