Bahrain to receive first batch of F-16Vs in 2024
The Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) will receive its first batch of four F-16 Block 70 jets by the first half of 2024, RBAF Maj Gen Shaikh Hamid bin Abdullah Al Khalifah told reporters at the Manama Air Power Symposium 2022 (MAPS) on 9 November.
Bahrain will receive a total of 16 aircraft with deliveries taking place in batches of four until 2025.
Lockheed Martin received a $1.1 billion contract from the US DoD in 2018 to produce the Block 70 fighter jets for Bahrain, making the country the first customer to buy Lockheed Martin’s latest version of the F-16 design.
The jets will remain at a US-based Lockheed Martin facility where non-flying training activities will take place before they get shipped to Bahrain.
The production of the F-16Vs for Bahrain began in December 2019. The aircraft were meant to be delivered between 2022 and 2023 but disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have delayed the programme.
Lockheed Martin developed the F-16V as an advanced fighter alternative that could leverage its existing production infrastructure and global support network, targeted primarily at export customers.
According to the manufacturer, structural and capability upgrades ensure that the F-16 can fly and fight up to 2070 and beyond, which is 50% more than that of previous production F-16 aircraft.
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