Lockheed Martin Aeronautics will continue to sustain F-16 Fighting Falcon fleets for US allies around the world, including Greece, Jordan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

As the original equipment manufacturer of the F-16 programme, Lockheed Martin was the Department of Defense’s (DoD) sole source supplier for this contract.

The DoD allocated $238m in an undefinitised contract; so far, Foreign Military Sales funds (FMS) amounting to $910,000 were obligated at the time of award.

The US defence prime will provide initial spares in support of new aircraft purchases or major fleet upgrades; work is expected to be completed over the next decade.

Lockheed Martin’s global consumer base

Lockheed Martin has delivered approximately 4,600 F-16s to more than 25 countries, with more than 3,000 F-16s currently operational worldwide.

Currently, Greece operates 141 F-16 jets overall, procured from as early as 1989. The air force’s latest fleet comprises 30 F-16 C/D Block 52M aircraft, acquired in 2009/10.

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Jordan operates 79 F-16 fighters altogether, with the nation’s latest batch consisting of 13 F-16A units, acquired in 2017.

South Korea operates 163 F-16 C/D units; Singapore employs 80 C/D fighters; while Taiwan uses 140 enduring F-16 A/B units.

F-16 features in a geopolitically fraught world

The multi-purpose aircraft has nine hardpoints for weapons payloads: one at each wing tip, three under each wing, and one centre-line under the fuselage.

The ordnance is launched from Raytheon LAU-88 launchers, MAU-12 and Orgen bomb ejector racks. The port wing is fitted with a 20mm General Electric M61A1 multi-barrel cannon and the gunsight is interfaced to the cockpit HUD.

Air-to-surface missiles carried on the multi-purpose aircraft include Maverick, HARM and Shrike missiles, manufactured by Raytheon, and anti-ship missiles include Boeing Harpoon and Kongsberg Penguin. Flight tests with the Lockheed Martin joint air-to-surface stand-off missile have been conducted from the aircraft.

With tensions increasing in the Indo-Pacific, particularly in the South China Sea, the SU State Department approved a potential FMS for Lockheed Martin to upgrade Taiwan’s F-16s with Infrared tracking systems to protect the state’s airspace from Chinese combat aircraft.