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Lockheed Ships First F-16 Block 70 Jet Fighters for Bahrain

Lockheed Ships First F-16 Block 70 Jet Fighters for Bahrain

Lockheed Martin announced that the first ferry cell of three F-16 Block 70 jet fighters took off from Greenville, South Carolina, to Bahrain on Wednesday, making the Arab island nation the first Gulf Cooperation Council member armed with the warplane.

The aircraft’s features include an active electronically scanned array fire control radar, advanced avionics, and a modern cockpit with new safety systems and weapon platforms. In June 2018, Lockheed received a $1.12 billion contract from the U.S. government to manufacture 16 F-16 Block 70s for the Royal Bahraini Air Force.

The company has manufactured five of the jets to date, with 11 more in various production stages and testing. The flight test missions of the initial aircraft are conducted at Edwards Air Force Base in California with the 416th Flight Test Squadron.

OJ Sanchez, vice president and general manager of Lockheed’s Integrated Fighter Group, said the F-16 Block 70 is “a significant leap in fighter capabilities,” enabling the RBAF to protect Bahrain effectively and team up with global allies. More than 3,100 F-16s are operational in 25 countries, demonstrating the F-16 “as a highly reliable and versatile fighter,” Sanchez noted.

Lockheed earlier reported a surge in F-16 orders, with a backlog of 130 jets through 2025.

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