The Royal Bahraini Air Force is to procure 16 new Fighting Falcon F-16 Block 70 aircraft from the US Government.

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $1.12bn contract from the US Government for the production of the 16 fighter jets for the Bahraini Air Force.

The current ‘undefinitised contract action’ award represents the sale of the first F-16 Block 70 and the first F-16 production programme carried out in Greenville, South Carolina, US.

Bahrain will be the first customer to procure the F-16 Block 70, which is Lockheed Martin’s newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration.

“The aircraft also features an upgraded cockpit and advanced engine, as well as an extended structural service life of 12,000 hours.”

Lockheed Martin F-16 programme vice-president Susan Ouzts said: “We value our long-standing relationship with the Kingdom of Bahrain and look forward to beginning production activities on their first Block 70 aircraft at our facility in Greenville.

“This sale highlights the significant, growing demand we see for new production F-16s around the globe.”

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Aircraft production is expected to generate between 150 and 200 job opportunities at the Greenville production facility.

The project supports several Lockheed Martin engineering, procurement, sustainment and customer service jobs in addition to US supplier opportunities.

The F-16 Block 70 aircraft is fitted with advanced avionics, a proven active electronically scanned array radar, advanced weapons, conformal fuel tanks, and an automatic ground collision avoidance system. The aircraft also features an upgraded cockpit and advanced engine, as well as an extended structural service life of 12,000 hours.

To date, a total of 4,604 F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets have been purchased by 28 customers worldwide.