Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., based in Forth Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $177m contract to provide support for the Chilean/Fuerza Aérea de Chile F-16 M6.6 Operational Flight Programme and Systems Upgrade, enhancing the capabilities of Chile’s air force.

The contract is set to enhance the operational capabilities of the Chilean military’s F-16 fleet. Chile’s defence budget is on the rebound and is projected to reach $2.6bn by 2028.

This contract was announced by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center based at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. It marks a step in providing Chile with the necessary support to maintain its military readiness and capabilities. The contract is scheduled for completion by November 30, 2032.

In a notable move, this contract is classified as a sole source acquisition. The work will be carried out in Fort Worth, Texas, Greenville, South Carolina, and Chile itself.

The F-16 M6.6 Operational Flight Programme and Systems Upgrade are set to introduce technology and enhancements to the Chilean F-16 fleet, ensuring its continued relevance and effectiveness globally. The F-16 has been a cornerstone of the Fuerza Aérea de Chile’s capabilities.

According to GlobalData’s “Chile Defense Market 2023-2028” report, Chile has procured ten F-16C/D and 36 F-16 AM/BM from Lockheed Martin for its Air Force.

Lockheed Martin reported robust Q3 financial results on October 17, 2023, with net sales reaching $16.9bn, showing growth from the previous year. Although net earnings were slightly lower at $1.7bn, the company generated $2.5bn in free cash flow, with a portion returned to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. 

With completion expected by 2032, this initiative ensures that the Chilean F-16 fighter jets will remain an asset in the region for years.