Lockheed Formally Opens New F-16 Assembly Line

Credit: USAF

Lockheed Martin formally opened a new assembly line for F-16 Block 70 aircraft in Greenville, South Carolina, on Dec. 17, the company says. 

The ceremonial opening ends a 25-month hiatus of F-16 final assembly after Lockheed shut down the original line in Forth Worth and moved the tooling to a new site in Greenville. 

The reopening launches the final assembly process to support a $1.12 billion order by the Royal Bahiraini Air Force. 

Since the production hiatus began two years ago, Lockheed has received steady demand for the single-engine fighter. In addition to Bahrain, Bulgaria and Slovakia have signed new orders. 

The State Department cleared Taiwan last August to buy 66 F-16s, a deal that is still pending a contract signing. The aircraft also remains in contention for potential orders by several countries, including Croatia and the Philippines. 

Lockheed has also rebranded an improved version of the F-16 Block 70/72 to offer India the F-21.

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.