First delivery of the Lockheed F-16 Block 70 fighter jet was made
WASHINGTON, US — The first delivery of F-16 Block 70 fighters was delivered to the US Air Force. It is due to be deployed in the coming months to Bahrain – the first operator of the F-16 Block 70.
- Greece received two F-16 Block 52+ upgraded to Block 70 standard
- Bulgaria buys eight more Lockheed’s F-16 Block 70/72 fighters
- F-16 Block 30 upgrades with new Turkish MGB mission computer
US company Lockheed Martin has started deliveries in Block 70, the most advanced F-16 configuration. On March 10, with a ceremony held at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Greenville, South Carolina, the first F-16 Block 70 fighter was delivered to the United States Air Force. The aircraft, which was delivered with ceremony, made its maiden flight on January 24, 2023.
According to the information, the first F-16 Block 70 will be transferred to Bahrain by 2024, after undergoing various tests at the US Edwards Air Force Base, and will officially join the inventory of the Bahrain Air Force.
Bahrain has ordered a total of 16 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin. Deliveries of the aircraft are expected to end by 2025.
The first F-16 Block 70s will be delivered to the US government after completion of the final assembly and control [FACO] process in Greenville. After a series of tests, inspections, and acceptance, they will be flown to Bahrain by US Air Force pilots in groups of four.
Bahrain, the first user of the F-16 Block 70
In November 2017, Lockheed Martin, the US Department of Defense, and the Kingdom of Bahrain signed an F-16 supply agreement. With this agreement, Bahrain became the first country to order the built-from-scratch F-16 Block 70 fighter jets.
As is known, the Royal Bahrain Air Force [RBAF] is also embarking on an upgrade program to the Block 70 standard for its existing fleet of 20 F-16C/D Block 40. The RBAF operates two squadrons of F-16 Block 40s.
So far, 6 countries have selected Blok 70/72 fighters. In addition to the 127 new aircraft scheduled to be produced at Greenville to date, a Letter of Offer and Acceptance [LOA] was signed for the purchase of 12 Block 70s with Jordan and 8 units with Bulgaria [Bulgaria has sent a request to purchase eight more the fighter]. Thus, the number of aircraft planned to be produced at the facility will increase to 155.
F-16 Block 70 fighter jet
Jets undergoing the F-16 Block 70/72 upgrade are generally classified as Generation 4++ as they will be subject to hardware and structural improvements compared to other F-16s. The most important step in the Viper’s modernization will be to replace the existing radar system with Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 Active Phased Array [AESA] radar. With the integration of the APG-83 radar, the situational awareness of the F-16 will increase significantly.
Also in F-16 Block 70/72; There will be a 6” x 8” CPD (High Definition Display), an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System [GCAS], and more technological weapon stations that allow more efficient use of the AESA radar and control of capsule data.
In addition, new ammunition and missile systems, especially the AGM-88E, will be integrated into the aircraft. New generation electronic warfare equipment and IRST pod and new target pods will be available on the aircraft.
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