Lockheed Martin anticipates F-16 jet sales to new customers from Africa and South East Asia to keep its order book buoyant for the 4th generation fighter in 2020.
“We recently sold F-16s to Bulgaria and Slovakia. There is an African country that is interested in the F-16, so we're hopeful that will happen. A South American country, and some South East Asian countries are interested in the jet as well,” Kenneth R. Possenriede, Chief Financial Officer, Lockheed Martin said during a conference call to financial analysts while announcing the company’s First Quarter 2020 Results on Tuesday.
The African country likely to buy the F-16s could be Morocco. Last year, the US State Department agreed to sell 25 new F-16C/D Block 72 jets to the country for $3.8 billion. In 2019, it also approved a contract to upgrade 23 existing Moroccan F-16s to latest Viper configuration for $985.2 million; and another to supply Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) and bombs worth $209 million.
Around two weeks ago, America greenlighted a $68 million deal to provide 10 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II Air Launched missiles for its F-16s.
Lockheed is also seeking to bag F-16 orders from Taiwan and Indonesia.
Taiwan’s $8.1 billion F-16V procurement was first approved by the Trump administration in August 2019 and was subsequently cleared by Congress. Satisfied by the pricing, Taiwan’s parliament gave its nod in November and in December, the two parties signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA).
In addition, Jakarta is mulling an F-16 Block 72 Viper-purchase. It is yet to decide on which jet to buy with the contest primarily between Lockheed F-16 and F-35, and Russian Su-35 jets.
Lockheed’s customers in South America could be Argentina or Chile.