Lockheed Martin's F-16 Block 70 performed its first flight on Tuesday at its Greenville, S.C., facility.
The flight occurred at 9:17 a.m. EST, with Lockheed Martin test pilots Dwayne "Pro" Opella and Monessa "Siren" Balzhiser at the helm. Total flight time was approximately 50 minutes and included airworthiness checks, such as engine, flight control, and fuel system checks, as well as basic aircraft handling.
This F-16 Block 70 jet is the first of 16 jets to be delivered to Bahrain. Six countries have selected Block 70/72 aircraft. In addition to the current official backlog of 128 jets to-date to be built in Greenville.
Jordan last year signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for eight jets and last week signed an additional LOA for four more jets. Lockheed Martin has received a contract to begin Jordan's long-lead activities.
Bulgaria has also signed an LOA for an additional eight jets for its fleet. Once these are finalized, the backlog will increase to 148.
The F-16 is a strategic and valuable choice for many customers around the world seeking advanced, 4th generation fighter aircraft capabilities, regional and worldwide partnerships, and affordable lifecycle costs.
More than 3,000 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.
The Block 70/72 features advanced avionics, a proven Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, a modernized cockpit with new safety features, advanced weapons, conformal fuel tanks, an improved performance engine, and an industry-leading extended structural service life of 12,000 hours.
Operational capabilities are enhanced through an advanced datalink, targeting pod and weapons, Infrared Search and Track system; precision GPS navigation, and the proven life-saving Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System. Additionally, the new Block 70/72 Modular Mission Computer combines state-of-the-art computing capabilities for weapons and avionics in a single system, which results in more capability for the pilot and jet, with less costly software upgrades over time.
F-16 BLOCK 70/72
- Length: 49.3 ft
- Height: 16.7 ft
- Speed: 1,500 mph (Mach 2+)
- Wingspan: 31.0 ft
- Empty Weight: 20,300 lb
- Engine Thrust Class: 29,000 lb
- Maximum TOGW: 48,000 lb
- Design Load Factor: 9 g
- Service Life: 12,000 hr