Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, has offered Ukraine a new F-16 Block 70/72 multirole combat aircraft as it looks to modernize its air force.
Ukraine wanted to buy new or used fighter jets to replace the fleet of aging Soviet-made aircraft. Ukrainian Air Force currently has a fleet of Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker interceptors and MiG-29 Fulcrum aircraft.
According to Lockheed Martin, the company can provide Ukraine with new fighters or modernize secondhand combat aircraft.
As noted by the company, the F-16 is the world’s most successful, combat-proven 4th generation fighter. To date, 4,588 F-16s have been produced and there are approximately 3,000 operational F-16s are in service today in 25 countries.
In concert with the U.S. Air Force and multiple F-16 Foreign Military Sales customers, Lockheed Martin has certified more than 3,300 carriage and release configurations for greater that 180 weapon and store types. The company’s experience as a weapon integrator has enabled the F-16 to be one of the most versatile multirole fighters ever.
The five nations have chosen the newest F-16 Block 70/72 version for these reasons and more. Block 70/72 F-16 production began in Greenville, South Carolina, on Nov. 11, 2019. The Greenville production start coincides with the significant, growing demand for new production F-16s around the globe.
New-production F-16s include advanced capabilities, such as the APG-83 AESA Rradar, modernized cockpit with new safety features, advanced weapons, conformal fuel tanks, an improved performance engine, and an industry-leading extended structural service life of 12,000 hours. But most importantly, new F-16s also include the proven, life-saving Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS), which ensures pilots come home safe.
The company also offers a package of modernization of secondhand fighters, in order to bring their combat capabilities to Block 70/72 configuration.