WASHINGTON — Another country has wanted to acquire the latest version of the 4 ++ generation F-16 Block 70 fighter, and this is the Kingdom of Jordan. The Middle East country has ordered eight fighter jets, but there is a problem: orders from Bahrain, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Morocco, and Taiwan are waiting in the production line.
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The F-16’s production line has been relocated in recent years to Lockheed Martin‘s newly built production facilities in South Carolina. However, the United States has temporarily suspended production there and is not expected to resume until 2023. The first deliveries of new aircraft are not expected until 2024 at the earliest.
The South Carolina plant has not yet completed a full order. The last order and delivery were 36 F-16IQ fighters for the Iraqi Air Force, but they were built in Fort Worth, Texas. In the meantime, 16 machines are to be built for Bahrain, 14 for Slovakia, 25 for Morocco, 66 for Taiwan, and eight for Bulgaria. Therefore, the Jordanian order will not be able to be fulfilled in the coming years.
Currently, Jordan’s combat aircraft consists of 59 F-16 – 44 A / AM versions and 15 B / BM versions. Jordanians may buy eight more than the eight currently ordered, as the US State Department’s approval covers the sale of up to 16 units [12 single and four double]. The current order is half as small, probably for financial reasons, as it was recently for Bulgaria.
The Jordanian order shows that interest in the Fighting Falcon is not waning and, as the manufacturer predicts, there will probably be more people willing to buy hundreds of these aircraft. They are attractive in terms of value for money, especially after the creation of the Block 70/72 variant and the F-16V package, which are based on solutions developed for F-35 aircraft of the 5th generation and allow the detection of targets in more -longer distances and the use of more modern types of weapons precision air-ground class.
At the same time, Poland is interested in the American F-16 Block 70/72 fighters as it is one of the countries producing elements for this fighter, engaging the production capabilities of the PZL Mielec plant.
PZL Mielec provides the rear and middle of the fuselage, the cockpit design, the cockpit side panel, and the front equipment for all F-16 fighters produced. Following their production, Mielec components will be transferred to the Lockheed Martin finish line in Greenville, South Carolina.
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