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Lockheed Martin rolls out first F-16 for Slovakia

With the first of 14 F-16s for Slovakia rolled out on 6 September, deliveries should commence in the second quarter of 2024. (Slovak MoD)

Lockheed Martin rolled out the first F-16C Block 70 Fighting Falcon multirole combat aircraft for Slovakia during a ceremony at the company's Greenville production facility in South Carolina on 6 September.

Slovak Defence Minister Martin Sklenár and other high-ranking Slovakian dignitaries attended the event, where the first of 12 single-seat F-16C and two twin-seat F-16D Block 70 aircraft was officially presented to the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic.

This first aircraft will begin flight trials in November, ahead of the commencement of deliveries to Slovakia from the second quarter (Q2) of 2024.

Slovakia signed for its F-16s in December 2018, in a EUR1.6 billion (USD1.8 billion at the time) procurement contract that also included Raytheon AIM-120C7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) and AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, as well as training and support.

The F-16C/D Block 70/72 (F-16V in its remanufactured form) is the latest variant of the F-16, and features the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar (derived from the F-16E/F Block 60 AN/APG-80 and also known as the Scalable Agile Beam Radar [SABR]), a new Raytheon mission computer, the Link 16 datalink, modern cockpit displays, an enhanced electronic warfare system, and a ground-collision avoidance system.

Once delivered, the F-16s will replace Russian-built MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum' aircraft that Slovakia has already retired and donated to Ukraine.

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