Lockheed Martin plans to commoditize its F-16 Viper fighter jet line by offering jets in a single standardized configuration, based on the latest Block 70/72 variant, with a standardized cost model for all Foreign Military Sale (FMS) customers, reports the War Zone.
Lockheed Martin aims to streamline things for both the manufacturer and potential customers, especially foreign buyers, and it follows a massive U.S. Air Force-managed contract for the production of Vipers for export over the next decade through Foreign Military Sale.
FlightGlobal was first to report on Lockheed Martin’s new plans for its F-16 product line on Sept. 4, 2020. The Air Force had awarded the company an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract, valued at up to $62 billion over 10 years, to build at least 90 Block 70/72 Vipers – 66 for Taiwan and 24 for Morocco – for Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers on August 12, 2020.
The new standard Viper configuration will have a default set of “avionics, mission systems, an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, electronic warfare suite, Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System and an engine,” according to FlightGlobal, though it is not clear what those specific systems will be. Lockheed Martin has already been pushing toward standardizing the Viper line with its Block 70/72 F-16s and the related F-16V upgrade package that brings older jets up to a similar configuration.
These versions, outgrowths of the F-16IN Super Viper variant developed for India, all feature the AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), an AESA type from Northrop Grumman reported the War Zone, as well as other common avionics and other mission systems. Lockheed Martin presently offers Block 70 F-16s with General Electric F110 engines and Block 72 variants with Pratt & Whitney F100s.
The F-16V Block 70/72 has a bright future in the International fighters markets, Lockheed Martin is building Block 70/72 jets for Taiwan, Bahrain, Bulgaria and Morocco, Indonesia and India among other potential customers, has also considered new Vipers to meet its future fighter jet needs.
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