Jordan and Lockheed Martin have signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance for the acquisition of eight F-16 Fighting Falcon Block 70 fighter jets, the US manufacturer announced.
The new combat aircraft will join the fleet of 44 F-16-A and 15 F-16B fighter jets that have been operating in the Jordanian Air Force for a long time. The Middle Eastern country had received the last batch of second-hand supersonic jets from the US in 1997.
The sale of the most advanced version of the F-16 was authorized in February by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The total number of aircraft, however, is 16 fighters, being 12 F-16C (single-seat) and four F-16D (twin-seat).
“This F-16 acquisition reflects over 70 years of U.S. cooperation and decades of partnership with Lockheed Martin,” said Aimee Burnett, vice president, Integrated Fighter Group Business Development. “Our history partnering with Jordan strengthens regional security and helps protect citizens through 21st Century Security technologies that support critical missions today and into the future.”
The new Jordanian fighter jets will be produced at Lockheed Martin’s new assembly line in Greenville, South Carolina, which is expected to start operating in 2023.
The more than 4,600 aircraft delivered to date were produced at the Fort Worth plant of General Dynamics, a company taken over by Lockheed in 1993. Currently, the facility manufactures the F-35 Lightning II. In addition to Jordan, the F-16’s new customers are Bahrain, Taiwan, and Slovakia.
Romania, which plans to retire its MiG-21s next year, plans to acquire 32 second-hand F-16s from Norway. The European nation already operates the fighter after having purchased 17 aircraft from Portugal.