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First F-16 rolls off new production line

The first F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft has rolled off the new production line in Greenville, South Carolina, Lockheed Martin announced on 21 November.

In a message posted from its official Twitter account titled, ‘Guess who's back‘, Lockheed Martin heralded, “a new era of Falcon is about to take flight”, with a video showing the first Block 70 aircraft for Bahrain being rolled out of the facility.

”I am thrilled to share the first F-16 Block 70 jet has completed the Final Assembly and Checkout (FACO) and paint phases at our production facility in Greenville, South Carolina. The jet is now preparing for its first flight […] More to come and eyes forward!,” Integrated Fighter Group vice-president and general manager at Lockheed Martin, OJ Sanchez, said on his LinkedIn page.

The milestone marks the completion of the first newbuild F-16 since Lockheed Martin closed down its line for the aircraft in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2017, electing at that time to undertake all future production in Greenville. Formerly an F-16 maintenance and sustainment facility, the Greenville site spans 276 acres and features 16 hangars, employing a workforce of more than 700 people.

Speaking to Janes on 17 November at the IQPC International Fighter Conference 2022 in Berlin, JR McDonald, vice-president of F-35 strategy and business development for the company, said that the backlog for the F-16 stands at 128 aircraft. With orders to be satisfied for Bahrain, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Taiwan, Bulgaria has been approved for additional aircraft and Jordan too has been approved by the US government to buy new jets.

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