skip to main content

HEMUS 2024: Lockheed Martin signs contract with Avionams for F-16 maintenance

Model of the F-16 Block 70 in Bulgarian Air Force colours displayed at HEMUS 2024. (Janes/Christopher Petrov)

Lockheed Martin has signed a contract with Bulgarian firm Avionams for partial maintenance of the F-16 fleet that is due to be delivered from the first quarter (Q1) of 2025.

Aneesh R Datta, representing Lockheed Martin's department for industrial co-operation, told Janes of the development at the HEMUS 2024 defence exhibition in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, on 7 June. Avionams, which has three facilities based around the city of Plovdiv, has previous experience in maintaining various aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Force, including the Mil Mi-8/17/24 series of helicopters, L-39 trainers, and MiG-21 and MiG-29 combat aircraft.

Datta outlined how Avionams will aid in the maintenance of the F-16s. The three key areas will be maintenance of the aircraft's electrical, hydraulic, and landing gear assemblies. Datta also emphasised that Lockheed Martin is confident that Bulgaria will be able to finish the refurbishment of Graf Ignatievo Air Base (ICAO: LBPG), as work is required to convert the base where MiG-29s were operated to be able to field the incoming F-16 Block 70/72 multirole combat aircraft.

Bulgarian F-16s are also expected to get ‘Have Glass' paint schemes that allow for a reduced radar cross-section compared with untreated fuselages.

For more on the F-16's new lease of life, please see Feature: F-16 enters new phase of European operations.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...