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Lockheed Martin, the maker of F-16 fighter jets are losing some parts of the $3 Billion servicing work to BAE.
Last year, BAE won over Lockheed to refurbish the 130 units of F-16 owned by South Korea. It was the first the Pentagon’s biggest contractor lost such bid. BAE is looking at possibilities of taking on more F-16 repair and upgrade work to boost its international sales. “We’re looking at potentially where to take this next,” David Herr, president of BAE’s support solutions business said. “It’s a big opportunity for us.” Aside from South Korea, BAE had also talked with other nation the possibility of other F-16 work.
According to defense analyst Kevin Brancato; due to the military budget cuts, defense companies are now shifting their focus on servicing and improvement contracts. This means that Lockheed have to defend its turf from its rivals that may soon include Boeing. Lockheed Martin are busy with the development of the controversial F-35, the most expensive Pentagon’s development program in history.
Ellen Buhr, a company spokesperson said that Boeing is interested in international F-16 upgrades. Boeing had experienced working with the F-16 through its work on converting the jet planes into drones used for military target practice.
In total, there 2,271 units of F-16 owned by other nations.
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News Source: www.bloomberg.com
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Lockheed Martin celebrates the delivery of the 4500th unit of the F-16 jet model. It is such a huge milestone for Lockheed Martin and Fort Worth, where the jet planes are made.
The F-16 is considered the best combat airplane of the jet age. It is the foremost warplane of the United States Air Force and 25 other nations. The 4500th plane is bound for Morocco. Almost half of all the F-16 that was built was ordered by foreign nations.
“It’s the best air-to-air fighter. Then it proved to be the most adaptable plane for ground attack missions as well,” said Pierre Sprey, a former civilian weapons analyst in the Pentagon.
Apart from its capabilities, the F-16 stands out for being a low-cost and problem-free program. Unlike other jet programs like F-35 jet fighter, the F-16 was designed and built quickly, passed performance test readily and did not suffer from technical delays or cost overruns. It is a simple and inexpensive plane that was very capable of doing its job.
The F-16 is also very significant to the economy of the community around Fort Worth. The plant employs thousands of employees who had built their career and raised their families thanks to F-16. Small business have thrived by supplying components and services to Lockheed and General Dynamics.
The success of the F-16 program is a source of great pride from the men who first conceptualized it and to every hand that worked on an F-16 jet plane.
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News source: www.star-telegram.com
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Lockheed Martin unveiled the latest version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon at the Singapore Airshow. The F-16V features several enchancements that will make the fourth-generation jet fighter to operate better with fifth generation jet fighters like the F-35 and F-22. This newest version of the F-16 has an upgraded mission computer and architecture, an improved cockpit and an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.
The AESA radar will allow the F-16V to broadcast radio signals that are spread out among different frequencies that will make it difficult to detect over background noise. It allows the fighter jet to send powerful signals while remaining stealthy. Lockheed Martin has also developed a process to install AESA radars on existing F-16s on lesser costs.
F-16V is latest evolution of the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The “V” stands for viper, the nickname that pilots from the US Air Force gave the Fighting Falcon for its resemblance to TV show Battlestar Galactica’s Colonial Viper Starfighter. It had come a long way from the earlier incarnations of F-16. The first versions were F-16A (one seat) and F-16-B (two seat). Enhancements like improved cockpit avionics and all-weather capability were made in F-16C/D. Other versions like F-16IN and F-16IQ is also in operation.
The US Airforce had been using the F-16 since 1978 and over 4,450 units have been built. The F-16 will remain in service until 2025. The US Air Force no longer order units of F-16, but Lockheed Martin continues to produce the aircraft for other countries that operate the Fighting Falcon like Italy, Denmark, South Korea, Israel and Pakistan.
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Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said on Sept 27th that the Iraqi government has transferred its first payment for 18 F-16C Fighting Falcons. This brings Iraq closer to independently securing its airspace.
“These aircraft will help provide air sovereignty for Iraq to protect its own territory and deter or counter regional threats,” Little said.
The F-16 fighter aircraft, he said, “are also a symbol of the commitment to a long-term strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq.”
According to Little, the F-16s are the block 50/52 variant of the aircraft – the current production version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The sale is valued at about $3 billion. Such foreign military sales will be a cornerstone of future cooperation and support the development of a long-term cooperative security relationship with Iraq.
“Foreign military sales around the world, such as this purchase of F-16 aircraft,” the press secretary said, “strengthen our diplomatic and military relationships with our allies and supports American industry and jobs at home.”
The United States conducts foreign military sales with Iraq and fully supports Iraq’s efforts to purchase military equipment in line with its domestic spending priorities and in accordance with its budget laws and procedures, Little added.
Source: U.S. Air Force
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Iraq has signed a contract to buy 18 Lockheed Martin F-16 warplanes to bolster its air force, an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday.
The value of the F-16 deal was not immediately known, but a senior U.S. military official said recently the offer on the table for the Iraqi government was valued at “roughly $3 billion.”Lockheed said in a statement it looked forward to a partnership with Baghdad and was “pleased with the confidence Iraq places in our products.” It declined to comment on the specifics of the deal, referring questions to the Iraqi and U.S. governments.
“The F-16 contract was signed … and a part of the contract cost was sent to the bank account of the company,” said Maliki’s media adviser, Ali al-Moussawi.
Iraq has long sought F-16 combat jet for its rebuilt air force. The government delayed a planned purchase of F-16s in February to divert a $900 million down payment to its national food ration program to help quell street protests.
Maliki said on July 30 Iraq would buy 36 F-16s, double the number it had originally planned, to shore up its weak air defenses. The OPEC producer has found itself flush with cash this year, reaping windfall profits as world oil prices have remained above budget projections.
Iraq is relying on the U.S. military for air support as it rebuilds its forces and battles a stubborn Islamist insurgency. Washington and Baghdad are discussing whether to keep some U.S. troops or military trainers in Iraq beyond the year-end deadline for U.S. departure.
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Signaling a greater-than-ever military threat to Taiwan, new information emerged this week showing that China might be much further ahead in its development of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft than previously believed.
In what has caused a major stir within the Pentagon, Beijing Internet censors earlier this week allowed high-resolution photographs of the Chengdu Aircraft Corp stealth fighter to be published for the first time.
“For Taiwan, this means that even a sale of the latest versions of the Lockheed Martin F-16 will only provide a brief period of technical parity with the People’s Liberation Army,” Richard Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Washington, told the Taipei Times.
Fisher said it was now possible China could deploy significant numbers of the fifth-generation fighters — codenamed the Chengdu J-20 — within 10 years.
“There is now even greater reason for Taiwan to consider shifting its air defense resources to the more survivable short take-off fifth-generation F-35B, with modifications that increase its air combat potential,” he said. “Today, it is doubly tragic for Taiwan that Washington does not appear to be willing to sell either fighter to Taipei.”
Taiwan is urgently pressing US President Barack Obama to sell it 66 advanced versions of the F-16, but with Chinese President Hu Jintao scheduled to visit Washington later this month, a sale is unlikely to be approved anytime soon.
Aviation Week and Space Technology reported that China has begun flight-testing the J-20, which puts it only a few years behind the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is being developed by the US and a coalition of countries.
“The US should never be afraid to engage the PRC [People’s Republic of China], but neither should it give the Chinese the impression that Washington is dealing with them out of fear,” an analyst said.
- Taipei Times
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