Lockheed Martin’s hugely successful F-16 Fighting Falcon will now be manufactured exclusively to the V, or Viper standard in order to simplify manufacture and orders, especially for international customers.
Lockheed Martin’s iconic F-16 platform is one of the most recognizable modern jet fighters the world over. According to company information, over 3,000 F-16s are in service today with 25 countries, affirming the bird’s capabilities. By some estimates, F-16s make up an outsized 16% of the total number of jets flown by militaries around the world. And Lockheed Martin has a plan for selling even more.
What Comes Next:
The F-16 Block 70/72 variant, also known as the Viper, will become the base F-16 model. In addition to a reduced radar cross-section, Lockheed claims that the Viper’s estimated structural life is 50% greater than previous F-16s. Rather than tailor-making F-16s to buyers’ demands, Lockheed hopes to streamline the contracting and production process by offering just one base model.
Still, potential future customers would be able to make other equipment requests on top of the F-16V base. In the case that some customers want something different than the base F-16V doesn’t offer, they can still purchase other bells and whistles to be added on.
Take the F-21 as an example. The F-21 is an F-16 variant currently on offer to India and has a different cockpit layout than other F-16s along with large conformal fuel tanks.
Source: National Interest