Lockheed Martin has been awarded an initial contract for the delivery of F-16 C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon multi-role fighter jets to the Iraqi Air Force (IQAF).
Awarded by the US Department of Defense (DoD), the $199m firm-fixed-price, time-and-material, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract involves the supply of 18 two-seat aircraft, including 12 C and six D models, along with engines and support equipment to help enhance the country’s air defences.
The contract, which forms part of a potential $4.2bn sale announced by Pentagon in September 2010, includes provision of technical orders, integrated logistics and contractor logistics support services.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter, designed initially as an air superiority day fighter, but later evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft.
Powered by a single Pratt & Whitney F-100-GE-129 turbofan engine, the F-16 C/D Block 52 is an upgraded variant of F-16, featuring improved cockpit avionics, radars and all-weather capability with beyond-visual-range (BVR) AIM-7 and AIM-120 air-air missiles.
The F-16 fighters are operational with air forces of the US, Israel, Egypt, New Zealand, South Korea, Chile, Poland, UAE, Bahrain, Greece and Singapore.
Manufacturing work under the foreign military sales (FMS) programme contract will take place at the company’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas, and is scheduled to be finished by 30 May 2018.
The ASC/WWMK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, located in Ohio, US, will serve as the contracting activity for the programme, according to the US DoD notification.
IQAF, which is considered as one of the weakest branches of Iraqi armed forces, is also acquiring an additional 18 Fighting Falcons under an estimated $2.3bn FMS sale, which was announced in December 2011.
Image: A US Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon during its flight over Iraq. Photo: courtesy of Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway.