Lockheed Martin has hosted a ceremony in Greenville, South Carolina, to celebrate its new F-16 production line.
The tooling and equipment for the F-16 were formerly held in Fort Worth, Texas, but have now been installed in a newly-refurbished hangar in Greenville, where Lockheed Martin will begin manufacturing of F-16 Lock 70 aircraft later in 2019.
"This is an exciting time as we celebrate another important milestone for the F-16 ‒ the world's most successful, combat-proven fourth-generation fighter," said Michele Evans, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
"The future is bright, and it begins right here in Greenville, South Carolina ‒ the new home of F-16 production."
While Australia doesn't have any F-16s in its fleet, demand for the aircraft "continues to soar" for the Block 70 edition.
Bahrain was the first to order the F-16 Block 70 aircraft in June last year, while Slovakia also agreed to order 14 of the fourth-generation fighters in December.
Bulgaria and the US government are also currently in negotiations about the planned acquisitions of F-16s.
"This is a great day for Greenville and South Carolina," said US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
"We have the best workforce in the country and now we are going to build the most advanced F-16 ever right here in the Palmetto State."
Over 400 jobs will be created to help support the new production line in Greenville.
"South Carolina's workforce is second to none, and the fact that Lockheed Martin continues to invest and put its faith in South Carolinians to build the newest F-16s in Greenville speaks volumes about our state and the company," said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.
"Every person who calls South Carolina home should be proud that the F-16 is made right here in the Palmetto state."