Lockheed Martin has opened a new production line for Block 70/72 of the F-16 aircraft to address the jet's growing demand from foreign military sales customers.
The new production line will operate in partnership with the U.S. Air Force from Lockheed's existing site in Greenville, South Carolina, the service branch said Tuesday.
The line's opening took place three years after Lockheed concluded F-16 production activities at a facility in Fort Worth, Texas. Lockheed holds a $14 billion contract with USAF to produce 128 units of the F-16 up to the year 2026. The contract supports five FMS customers in negotiation with USAF.
“The line helps us meet the global demand that a number of nations have for [F-16] aircraft and gives us the additional capability to provide the aircraft to countries interested in purchasing it for the first time," said Col. Brian Pearson, integrated product team lead for F-16 FMS within the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Fighters and Advanced Aircraft Directorate.
The directorate also plans to update the radar and other systems of 405 existing F-16s through the V-Configuration.