Lockheed Martin F-16 - The Most Advanced 4th Generation Multirole Fighter In The World
Lockheed Martin's vice president and general manager of F-16 Programs, John Larson, told reporters attending the Paris Air Show that the F-16 continues to be the most advanced 4th Generation multirole fighter currently available on the international market. The Fighting Falcon provides global security through a worldwide partnership base of 25 nations with advanced technologies, complete multirole capabilities and lowest life-cycle cost.
The F-16 was established as a European fighter from the program's inception with international co-production beginning in 1977, through the establishment of the most successful multinational consortium program in history with Belgium, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and the United States. Since then, 19 countries have participated in F-16 manufacturing, and the program continues to foster a strong foundation of international partnerships with more than 50 industrial companies participating today.
"There are currently 25 nations that depend on the F-16 to help meet their country's security needs," said Larson, who, in addition to the F-16 programs, also oversees Lockheed Martin’s work in the T-50 and F-2 aircraft programs. "We've built more F-16s outside the United States making the F-16 the largest multinational production program in history," he said.
Underscoring the Lockheed Martin 'Global Partnerships Building Global Security' theme for this year's show, Larson said the F-16 continues to lead the international fighter market with 52 repeat buys by 14 customers.
"The F-16 is the most affordable and proven choice to meet the force structure needs and security requirements of air forces around the world," said Larson. "Continuous technology enhancements and a very clear path for upgrades and global sustainment have allowed the F-16 to perform as a comprehensive weapon system with over 14 million flight hours proving its safety and reliability."
Larson explained that many of the F-16's advanced technologies were developed from analyzing the aircraft’s performance in combat operations. "We took feedback from U.S. and international warfighters and incorporated it into the avionics systems and architecture of the F-16, keeping the F-16 on the leading edge of technology to meet the needs of our customers."
The F-16 continues as a modern, highly capable, affordable and supportable fighter. The program is healthy, with firm production through 2012, and a strong likelihood of new orders that will extend the line for several more years. Through the first quarter of 2009, the company's backlog is about 95 F-16 aircraft and there remains significant international potential, said Larson.
Recent F-16 program milestones have included an arrival ceremony at Araxos Air Base, Greece, for the first four of 30 aircraft to be delivered through the Hellenic Air Force’s Peace Xenia IV program, as well as the final deliveries of F-16s to Poland in December 2008, and F-16s to Israel in January of this year.
Several F-16 modification, upgrade and modernization programs are also underway for Turkey, Pakistan, Jordan and the U.S. Air Force, providing the newest combat capabilities to the worldwide group of F-16 users. The upgrade potential for the F-16 fleet is substantial since 25 countries have ordered F-16s to date and the aircraft will be in operation around the world for several more decades.
"Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force are committed to modification and sustainment of the worldwide F-16 fleet. We recognize that we have a serious obligation to support our customers' security requirements, and we also recognize fleet sustainment as a growing customer need, as well as a business opportunity," Larson said.