The employees at defense contracting giant Lockheed Martin might be expecting a holiday bonus this year. In addition to the latest contracts for its F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, last week the United States Air Force awarded the company a $900 million contract to provide sustainment support and deport-overflow services for the F-16.
The company had already posted better-than-expected quarterly results in October, boosted by its F-35 fighter jet program, Fox Business reported.
According to Lockheed Martin, the contract value is estimated over a ten-year period, and will include depot-level maintenance activities, predefined programmatic work, aircraft modification and unplanned drop-in maintenance.
“As the F-16 Fighting Falcon’s Original Equipment Manufacturer, Lockheed Martin is uniquely positioned to provide the most comprehensive knowledge of the aircraft and tailored sustainment solutions to optimize the F-16 fleet for greater capability, readiness and performance,” the company said in a statement.
Work on the Air Force contract will be performed at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Greenville, South Carolina, which is equipped and ready to support F-16 operations for years to come. The defense giant’s team of F-16 experts will also be on-site and prepared to meet the service’s most challenging problems, partnering between Production and Sustainment operations, giving full life cycle coverage for the F-16, the company added.
A Worldwide Success
There are approximately 3,000 operational F-16s in service today in twenty-five countries, a testament to what is easily the world’s most successful, combat-proven multi-role jet fighter ever produced. The fast and agile F-16 Fighting Falcon isn’t just one of the top fighters it is also amongst the most cost-effective.
Since entering service in 1979, this “warbird” has been battle-tested, engaging in more than 400,000 combat sorties and has a combined nineteen million flight hours. The F-16 has been adapted to complete a number of missions, including air-to-air fighting, ground attack, and electronic warfare. As a combat fighter, the Fighting Falcon has also proven to be highly maneuverable while its combat radius exceeds that of its potential threats.
Along with the larger F-15 Eagle, the F-16 was one of the world’s first aircraft to withstand higher g-forces than the pilots. A notable accolade for an aircraft that had essentially began as a technology demonstrator to determine where it was possible to build a versatile fighter that could be cheaper than the F-15.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon has continued to offer advanced interoperable capabilities that enhance partnerships with allies across the world. It has been proving its effectiveness for decades and continues to remain the best value among fourth-generation jets for its capabilities and affordable lifecycle costs.
New production of the F-16 furthers leverages structural and capability upgrades that ensure the international Fighting Falcon fleet will remain operational into the 2060s and beyond.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.