Dec 16, 2013
Lockheed sees F-16 fighter jet production continuing through 2020
Lockheed Martin has enough orders to keep its F-16 fighter jet production line humming through the third quarter of 2017, and hopes to land additional orders that would keep the line running through 2020
Around that time, the cost of Lockheed's new F-35 stealth fighter will have dropped so far that potential customers will likely opt for the newer jet. Lockheed on Friday. marked completion of its 100th F-35 fighter.
Lockheed has produced over 4,500 F-16s since the program began in 1975.
The United Arab Emirates is weighing new F-16 orders and possible upgrades.
Lockheed has dramatically scaled back production of the F-16 at its sprawling facility in Fort Worth, Texas, to about one plane a month now - from a peak production rate of 30 planes a month in June 1987.
At the moment, the company is completing work on the last one of 20 F-16s it built for Egypt. That jet and seven others are being stored at the Fort Worth plant after the United States announced it would withhold most military aid due to concerns about democracy and human rights.
It is also working on 12 F-16s for Oman, several of which are in varying states of completion at the slimmed-down F-16 production line, plus a total of 36 jets ordered by Iraq.
One of the 145 jets being upgraded for Taiwan is also in the factory.
The Pentagon last month approved a deal under which BAE will upgrade 134 older F-16 fighter jets for South Korea, a move that could pressure Lockheed to compete more aggressively in the hunt for upgrade deals.