Bahrain receives Lockheed Martin's F-16 Block 70 fighter jets
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Bahrain receives Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 fighter jets

Bahrain receives Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 fighter jets

The F-16 Block 70 jets are equipped with state-of-the-art features including the APG-83 AESA Radar and advanced avionics

Gulf Business
F-16 Block 70 fighter jets

In a significant milestone for Bahrain’s military capabilities, Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 jets landed at Bahrain’s Isa Air Base on Friday, March 8. These fighter jets constitute the first batch of aircraft included in the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF)’s ‘Hamad Falcons’ fleet.

Departing from Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Greenville, South Carolina, the arrival of these jets underscores Bahrain’s capabilities within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as the first member to operate the F-16, and now, integrating the F-16 Block 70 variant into its fleet.

F-16 Block 70 jets

Lockheed Martin has already produced five F-16 Block 70 jets for Bahrain, with an additional 11 in various stages of production and testing. The initial aircraft are currently undergoing flight test missions at Edwards Air Force Base, California, under the supervision of the 416th Flight Test Squadron.

OJ Sanchez, vice president and general manager of the Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed Martin, highlighted the F-16’s significance in contemporary security contexts, emphasising its advanced capabilities. “With the introduction of the F-16 Block 70, we are witnessing a significant leap in fighter capabilities. The integration of this proven platform will allow the Royal Bahraini Air Force to safeguard its skies effectively and partner with allies worldwide,” said Sanchez.

The F-16 Block 70 jets are equipped with state-of-the-art features including the APG-83 AESA Radar, advanced avionics, modernised cockpit with new safety systems, and sophisticated weapon platforms.

Moreover, these jets boast additional enhancements such as conformal fuel tanks for extended range, improved performance engine, and an extended structural service life of 12,000 hours. Notably, the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS), introduced in late 2014, has proven crucial in safeguarding pilots’ lives, showcasing the aircraft’s superior safety standards and performance capabilities.

Lockheed Martin in the Middle East

Lockheed Martin’s commitment to the Middle East spans over five decades, with a focus on regional security and cutting-edge technology for critical missions.

Sanchez added, “More than 3,100 F-16s are operational in 25 countries, demonstrating the F-16’s reputation as a highly reliable and versatile fighter.” Sanchez also acknowledged the enduring partnership between the US government, Bahrain, and Lockheed Martin, a relationship that reflects shared values in defense, economic growth, and cultural ties.

The F-16 Block 70 programme, with a current backlog of 133 aircraft for six countries, underscores the company’s dedication to advancing aerospace capabilities in the region.

Leveraging advanced manufacturing and digital technologies, Lockheed Martin anticipates delivering 19-21 jets this year from its production line in Greenville, with potential opportunities for up to 300 additional jets worldwide.

Read: Pentagon Notifies Congress Of Possible F-16 Upgrades For UAE

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