After operating the first F-16 in the Gulf Cooperation Council in the 1990s, the Kingdom of Bahrain is the first to receive the F-16 Block 70, the fourth and most advanced generation of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, manufactured in Greenville.
Bahraini, American, and Lockheed Martin officials celebrated the delivery of the first of 16 jets for the Royal Bahraini Air Force with a celebration ceremony March 10.
Watch: New F-16 test flight at Lockheed Martin in Greenville
The first flight with test pilots Dwayne “Pro” Opella and Monessa “Siren” Balzhiser was completed on Jan. 24. Continued flight tests at Edwards Air Force Base will take place before the new jets arrive in Bahrain in 2024.
“The F-16 celebrated today was built by our talented, committed workforce in Greenville,” said Danya Trent, vice president, F-16 Programs and Greenville site leader. “We are proud to call Greenville the global home of the F-16 and look forward to continuing to produce jets serving missions around the world.”
Lockheed Martin relocated the F-16 production line to South Carolina from Fort Worth, Texas in 2019 Slovakia currently waits in the queue to be the next to receive the second delivery, with six total countries having ordered the new generation of jets.
The jet’s new capabilities include:
- Advanced radar
- Enhanced battlespace awareness
- Structural life of 12,000 hours or 40 years of service
- New Center Pedestal Display for critical tactical imagery
“The Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States relationship is based on mutual respect, common interest, and cooperation in both military and civilian fields,” said Major General Commander Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa.