GREENVILLE, SC—Lockheed Martin formally opened its new F-16 production line in a refurbished hangar here late last month. The assembly of F-16s is expected to start later this year, according to the company.
Lockheed Martin moved the tooling and equipment to the new site primarily to create more room at its Fort Worth, TX, facility, which was the source for the vast majority of the 4,588 F-16s that have been completed to date. Fort Worth is now given over entirely to F-35 production. Historically, F-16 assembly has also been undertaken in Belgium (SABCA, 222 aircraft), the Netherlands (Fokker, 300), Turkey (Turkish Aerospace, 304), and South Korea (Samsung Aerospace, 128).
Greenville’s first order to be fulfilled is the 16-aircraft batch of F-16V Block 70 aircraft for Bahrain, ordered in June 2018 and due for delivery from 2020. Bahrain has also signed up to upgrade 20 existing F-16C/D Block 40 aircraft to the same standard, which includes APG-83 AESA radar. In November 2018, Slovakia signed the Letters of Acceptance covering the delivery of 14 F-16Vs by the end of 2023.