Lockheed Martin has celebrated the successful first flight of the F-16 Block 70 at its Greenville, South Carolina site.
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Lockheed Martin test pilots Dwayne “Pro” Opella and Monessa “Siren” Balzhiser made the 50-minute flight on 24 January, including airworthiness, engine, flight control and fuel system checks and basic aircraft handling.
Integrated Fighter Group vice president OJ Sanchez said the F-16 Block 70 jet is the first of 16 jets to be delivered to Bahrain, among six countries to have selected Block 70/72 aircraft.
“Today’s successful flight is a testament of the hard work, dedication and commitment to our customers and their missions,” he said.
“This milestone demonstrates Lockheed Martin’s commitment to advancing this program and getting this much-needed aircraft and its advanced 21st century security capabilities to the warfighter.”
There is an official backlog of 128 jets to-date to be built at Greenville with Jordan signing a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for eight jets and extending for an additional LOA for four more jets.
Lockheed Martin has also received a letter of offer from Bulgaria for an additional eight jets for its fleet, to increase the current backlog to 148.
F-16 vice president and Greenville site lead Dayna Trent said Lockheed Martin is fully committed to delivering quality platforms for critical missions.
“I am so proud of our talented team in Greenville,” Trent said.
“This is the culmination of significant development, design, digital engineering, supply chain and production line advances to an already proven platform that will continue to deliver decades of service in support of customers’ national security.”