The F-16V fighter, the latest iteration of the venerable aircraft made by Lockheed Martin, has a launch customer besides two more with whom discussions are going ahead.
Lockheed Martin’s Business Development Manager in charge of F-16 Marketing, Randall Howards told journalists that the F-16V, among whose frontline features is an Airborne Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, will significantly extend the performance of the fighter over existing F-16s.
The development testing of the Northrop Grumman-developed AESA radar and other components that go into the F-16V was continuing, he said adding that he was not at liberty to name the potential customers of the aircraft.
Along with the radar and other components, the fighter would also receive a structural rigidity test to increase the life of the airframe by about two decades.
The F-16 is in use in over 20 countries all over the world with progressive improvements over the years.
Howards said that Lockheed Martin had offered the fighter to India in terms of shipping the entire production line to India in partnership with an Indian entity. Talks were going on with the Indian government to manufacture the fighter in India under the ‘Make in India’ program.
Defenseworld.net comment: In the recent past, Lockheed Martin has been left out of fighter aircraft contracts in the four plus generation aircraft such as the Eurofighter or Dassault Rafale mainly because it does not yet have an aircraft as latest as the recent versions of the European aircraft.
The F-35 is a level above both in capability and pricing and the US government is yet to finish selling it to its close allies.