Lockheed Martin has handed over an additional F-16 Fighting Falcon multi-role fighter aircraft to the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) during a ceremony at its facility in Fort Worth, Texas, US.
The aircraft represents the first F-16 of RFAO’s second contract, and is scheduled to be shipped to Oman later this year.
Signed in December 2011, the contract included delivery of a total of 12 F-16C/D Block 50 fighters to supplement the air force’s existing F-16 fleet used to defend Oman’s borders.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics executive vice-president Orlando Carvalho said the company shares a proud relationship with Oman.
"Working together, we are not only producing new F-16s, but also upgrading their existing F-16 fleet to provide the Royal Air Force of Oman with a common advanced F-16 capability configuration," Carvalho said.
The $94.7m contract awarded in October 2012 requires Lockheed to upgrade Oman’s existing 12 F-16C/D fighters to the same configuration as the new aircraft, DefenseNews reports.
Powered by a single Pratt & Whitney F-100-GE-129 turbofan engine, the F-16 was initially designed as an air superiority day fighter, but later evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft for accurate delivery of ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions.
In addition to Oman, the jets are widely operated by the air forces of Egypt, Iraq, New Zealand, South Korea, Chile, Poland, UAE, Bahrain, Greece and Singapore.
Image: A Royal Air Force of Oman’s F-16 fighter aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of Elizabeth L. Kaszynski.