Meet the ‘New’ F-16 Fighter Jets (Thanks to F-22 and F-35 DNA)

Lockheed Martin has good reason to be optimistic about securing further F-16 sales.

The “undefinitized contract action award” means that the Royal Bahraini Air Force will become the first operator of the most advanced and capable version of F-16 ever designed.

With the production of Lockheed Martin’s stealthy new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ramping up while Fighting Falcon production is ramping down, the company was compelled to move the F-16 line to a smaller plant that could handle lower volumes. Nonetheless, the move represents a new beginning for the F-16, which is still expected to generate strong sales over the coming years.

Lockheed Martin has invested significantly in the new South Carolina F-16 plant. The company expects that F-16 production at the site will create somewhere between 150 and 200 new jobs in Greenville.

Lockheed Martin has good reason to be optimistic about securing further F-16 sales. The Block 70 version of the venerable F-16 is a capable warplane by any measure and draws much of its technology from its more advanced F-35 stablemate. But while the F-35 is a much more advanced and capable warplane than any version of the F-16, not every country needs a Joint Strike Fighter or is even cleared to receive the stealth fighter. In those situations, the F-16 Block 70 might be the most capable fighter aircraft available to those U.S. allies.

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