Five countries have ordered the Block 70 variant of the fighter jet, and the company is looking for more customers.

The flight occurred on January 24 at 9:17 am with Lockheed Martin test pilots Dwayne “Pro” Opella and Monessa “Siren” Balzhiser at the controls.

Airworthiness checks took up around half of the flight’s 50 minutes total time. These included the engine, flight control, fuel system, and basic handling of the aircraft.

Vice President of the Integrated Fighter Group (which covers the F-16 program) OJ Sanchez remarked, “Today’s successful flight is a monument to the hard work, dedication, and commitment to our customers and their missions.”

Lockheed Martin’s dedication to the program and the delivery of this aircraft, with its cutting-edge 21st-century security capabilities, to the battlefield, is highlighted by this achievement.

Bahrain has received its first of 16 F-16 Block 70s. Six different nations have ordered Block 70/72 planes. Jordan signed an LOA for eight reactors last year, and another LOA for four was signed just last week, bringing the total number of reactors set to be manufactured in Greenville, South Carolina, to 128.

The Jordanian government has given Lockheed Martin a contract to begin long-term operations in the country. In addition, Bulgaria has committed to acquiring eight more reactors under a Letter of Agreement. When finished, the order backlog will rise to 148.

“Lockheed Martin is fully committed to delivering quality platforms for our customers’ critical missions, and I am very proud of our talented Greenville team,” said Danya Trent, F-16 Vice President, and Greenville Plant Manager.

“This is the culmination of significant advances in development, design, digital engineering, supply chain, and production line of a proven platform that will continue to deliver decades of service in support of customers’ homeland security.”

The Block 70 F-16 has better electronic, radar, and cockpit displays than the older F-16s flown by the United States and its allies.

“There is significant demand for this aircraft … from allies worldwide,” Taiclet said. “We are actively marketing this aircraft to those countries that may not be licensed yet or may not have the infrastructure for [the] F-35 [poaching] at this time that can do so in the future.”

More than 20 F-16s are currently under construction in Greenville. The company plans to deliver seven to eight aircraft this year.

About the F-16

The F-16 is a valuable and strategic choice for many worldwide customers seeking advanced 4th-generation fighter aircraft, regional and global partnerships, and affordable life-cycle costs. More than 3,000 F-16s currently operate in 25 countries. 

The F-16 is estimated to have completed 19.5 million flight hours and at least 13 million sorties. The latest current version, Block 70/72, offers unprecedented capabilities and will be used by at least five countries from the mid-2020s.