Lockheed Martin on Tuesday announced the first flight of its F-16 Block 70 at its Greenville, South Carolina site.
This F-16 Block 70 jet is the first of 16 jets to be delivered to Bahrain. Six countries have selected Block 70/72 aircraft. In addition to the current official backlog of 128 jets to-date to be built in Greenville, Jordan last year signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for eight jets and last week signed an additional LOA for four more jets.
Lockheed Martin has received a contract to begin Jordan's long-lead activities. Bulgaria has also signed an LOA for an additional eight jets for its fleet. Once these are finalized, the backlog will increase to 148.
Total flight time of the first flight was approximately 50 minutes and included airworthiness checks, such as engine, flight control and fuel system checks, as well as basic aircraft handling, a company release said.
"This milestone demonstrates Lockheed Martin's commitment to advancing this program and getting this much-needed aircraft and its advanced 21st Century Security capabilities to the warfighter," said OJ Sanchez, vice president, Integrated Fighter Group, which includes the F-16 program.
The F-16 Block 70 features an Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar besides advanced communication and weapons handling capability.