Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Seven F-16s in various stages of production for Bulgaria

Last week, a delegation led by Bulgarian Defence Minister Todor Tagarev visited Lockheed Martin’s F-16 production facility in Greenville, S.C., to view progress in producing the country’s future F-16 Block 70 jets. Bulgarian Ambassador Georgi Panayotov, and Bulgarian Defence Chief Adm. Emil Eftimov joined Tagarev on his visit.

Seven Bulgarian F-16s are in various stages of production, and the inaugural flight of the first Bulgarian F-16 Block 70 is planned for later this year, Lockheed Martin said in a company press release Tuesday.

OJ Sanchez, vice president and general manager of the Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed Martin, said: “Bulgaria is acquiring a proven, state-of-the-art fighter aircraft system that will deliver decades of 21st Century Security capabilities and NATO interoperability.”

Bulgaria will be the second European country to receive the F-16 Block 70. With a backlog of 135 jets, “the F-16 production line in Greenville serves as a cornerstone of security for allies around the world,” the company said. Today’s latest version, the Block 70/72, offers unparalleled capabilities and will be flown by six countries and counting.

More than 3,100 F-16s are operating today in 25 countries. The F-16 has flown an estimated 19.5 million flight hours and at least 13 million sorties.

Lockheed Martin announced last week the first two F-16 Block70 jets for Slovakia have been delivered for their fleet which will grow to 14.

The F-16 Block 70 performed its maiden flight one year ago at its Greenville facility.

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