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Paris Air Show 2023: PZL Mielec launches F-16 production in Poland as Lockheed Martin looks to cut delivery backlog

The first F-16 Block 70 seen departing on its maiden flight in January 2022. Lockheed Martin's Polish subsidiary, PZL Mielec, has recently begun production of subassemblies as the company looks to clear the international backlog of orders. (Lockheed Martin)

PZL Mielec recently commenced production of major subassemblies for the international Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon programme at its facility in southern Poland, taking over the work from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in the US and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in South Korea.

Speaking ahead of the Paris Air Show 2023 in early June, Janusz Zakrecki, president and general director of PZL Mielec, said that work to build the centre-fuselage, aft-fuselage, and forward-fuselage sections of the F-16 Block 70/72 had recently commenced and that the company will be shipping four sets per month to the final assembly line (FAL) in Greenville, South Carolina, in peak production.

Speaking at the same media event in Poland, Piotr Niedbala, director of business development and programmes at PZL Mielec, told Janes that the company expects to hit peak production “within four years”.

Zakrecki's comments came some three months after PZL Mielec said in March that it had delivered the first two structures to the FAL in the US. This milestone followed the construction of dedicated F-16 facilities at Mielec that were completed in 2022 at the same time some of the company's 1,500 personnel assigned to F-16 production were being trained by PZL Mielec's parent company and OEM, Lockheed Martin, in Greenville.

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