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F-16, world’s most advanced 4th gen fighter: Lockheed


F-16 in flight. A Lockheed Martin photo

FARNBOROUGH, ENGLAND (BNS): The versions of the F-16 being delivered to customers now are the most advanced 4th Generation multi-role fighter aircraft currently available on the international market, according to Lockheed Martin.

“The F-16 continues as a modern, highly capable, affordable and supportable fighter. The program is healthy and active, with firm production through 2013 and a strong likelihood of new orders that will extend the line for several more years,” Lockheed Martin director of business development for the program Bill McHenry told reporters at the Farnborough International Airshow, Tuesday.

McHenry also added that there is a firm backlog of 86 F-16 aircraft, including a recent order from Egypt for 20 new, Advanced Block 50/52 aircraft, the sixth follow-on buy for this country.

More than 4,450 F-16s have been delivered worldwide since the program’s inception more than 30 years ago – including 53 follow-on buys by 14 countries.

In addition to the F-16 production programs, Lockheed Martin continues to develop the F-16 for the future by integrating advanced technologies through upgrade programs for existing F-16s to ensure interoperability with the world’s only 5th Generation fighters, the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.

“This integration of advanced technologies for fielded and new aircraft provides an opportunity for F-16 operators to benefit from the latest developments in technology and capabilities for fighter aircraft,” McHenry said. “This synergy will parallel technology and provide a natural bridge from the 4th Generation of fighters to the 5th Generation.”

Aircraft now being produced for Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco and Egypt are the Advanced Block 50/52 F-16C/D configuration. The United Arab Emirates was the launch customer for the Block 60 F-16 E/F version, and is the platform basis for the proposed variant called the F-16IN Super Viper for the Indian Air Force’s Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft competition.

McHenry said the F-16 offers the latest technologies and capabilities available today – including AESA radar, day-night, all-weather, standoff, autonomous, air intercept and precision strike. These aircraft have the latest in avionics, sensors and weapons, plus user-friendly cockpits and systems integration that provide pilots with high situational awareness.

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