Lockheed Martin has successfully completed the maiden flight of the latest and most advanced F-16 aircraft, the F-16V, demonstrating advanced combat capabilities.
The latest flight marks the first F-16 operating with Northrop's advanced APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) scalable agile beam radar (SABR).
Lockheed Martin F-16 / F-22 Integrated Fighter Group vice-president and general manager Rod McLean said: "This flight marks a historic milestone in the evolution of the F-16.
"The new F-16V configuration includes numerous enhancements designed to keep the F-16 at the forefront of international security, strengthening its position as the world's foremost combat-proven fourth generation fighter aircraft."
The F-16V also features an enhanced mission computer, vehicle systems, aircraft structure, cockpit and electronic warfare system.
According to Lockheed, the variants will be the predominant configuration for the F-16 worldwide fleet and the new avionics configuration represents the most significant F-16 upgrade so far.
The APG-83 SABR AESA fire control radar offers fifth generation air-to-air and air-to-ground radar capability. The company also delivers the system for the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon was designed initially as an air superiority day fighter, which later evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft for accurate delivery of ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions.
The aircraft is said to be the world's most common fighter with more than 2,000 in service and 2,000 operational with 25 other countries.
Recently, Lockheed sent an F-16 cockpit demonstrator to Indonesia, in a bid to display the capabilities of F-16V as the country is planning to replace its old fighter aircraft.
Image: The new F-16V aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.