Lockheed Martin may finalise F-16 fighter jets sales contracts to Iraq and Oman by early 2012.

The contract, if finalised, will include the sale of 18 fighter jets and a total of about 100 additional orders by the end of the decade.

The fighter sales were notified by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency last year, but have been delayed.

Iraq is delaying the purchase to use the $900m of allocated funds in its national food ration programme.

The F-16 aircraft is a high-tech fighter jet, equipped with an advanced avionics suite and latest weapons with night precision attack capability.

The company has delivered 4,475 F-16s and has a backlog of 65 orders, according to Reuters.