The Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) F-16 Block 70 fighter recently selected by Bulgaria, features the most advanced 4th generation capabilities in NATO’s inventory today. The technologies on this fighter have been tested, proven and are currently flying on upgraded F-16s in Southeast Asia.
This jet is ideally suited for Bulgaria’s national defense and will ensure the Bulgarian Air Force operates the most advanced 4th generation fighter available today. Bulgaria’s economy and industry will benefit from this new long-term relationship with Lockheed Martin.
“While the F-16 name stays the same, the latest-generation Block 70 is a totally different jet – part of a total solution package that will provide Bulgaria with one of the most advanced and capable fighter aircraft in service with NATO in Europe,” said Jim Robinson, F-16 campaign lead. “Equipped with a modern suite of weapons, included in our pricing, it will provide much more than a basic air policing capability.”
The F-16 Block 70 features an active electronically scanned array radar (AESA), based on technology leveraged from the F-22 and F-35 fighters. The radar can track 20 separate targets simultaneously and has a range of more than 160 nautical miles against ground targets, significantly more than other fourth-generation fighters.
In addition to providing a highly advanced and capable fighter aircraft to Bulgaria, Lockheed Martin is redoubling its commitment to delivering economic and industrial benefits. The company, which has customers in more than 50 countries worldwide, understands the importance of partnership and will work with the U.S. and Bulgarian governments to identify cost savings for the F-16 Block 70 as the acquisition process continues.
“The total package for Bulgaria includes training for pilots and ground crew, logistics, support equipment and weapons for all operational needs, meaning there are absolutely no hidden costs. This means Bulgaria will not need to acquire any items such as weaponry under separate contracts with third parties or to seek permissions or licenses from governments for weapons integration and use, all of which incurs additional cost and uncertainty in the other offers,” said Robinson.
There are around 700 F-16 fighters flying with 10 NATO nations in Europe. Last month Greece confirmed it will upgrade 84 of its earlier-generation F-16 ‘Viper’ configuration, which is similar to the new-build Block 70 selected by Bulgaria.
“As Bulgaria moves forward in their F-16 Block 70 acquisition process, they can do so assured they are acquiring a proven, state of the art fighter aircraft system that will deliver decades of NATO interoperability in a configuration shared by hundreds of aircraft flown by many NATO air forces,” said Robinson.
The new F-16 manufacturing facility in Greenville, South Carolina will soon start production of F-16 Block 70 for Bahrain, Slovakia, and is the location slated for deliveries to Bulgaria. It uses the same equipment and same experienced supplier base that has produced thousands of F-16s in Fort Worth, Texas, eliminating risks associated with new aircraft production.
About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. This year the company received three Edison Awards for ground-breaking innovations in autonomy, satellite technology and directed energy.
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Photo: Norway, Dutch and Belgian F-16s at RIAT_July 12, 2018 (Copy right: Lockheed Martin)