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Bahrain Skies to Welcome Trio of F-16 Block 70 Jets: A Sky-High Upgrade for Air Defense

GREENVILLE, S.C., March 6, 2024 – In a landmark event that’s bound to ruffle some feathers in the aviation world, Lockheed Martin today announced the maiden voyage of not one, not two, but three F-16 Block 70 jets from Greenville, South Carolina, to Bahrain. This historic ferry flight turns a new page in air defense, propelling Bahrain into the spotlight as the first member of the Gulf Cooperation Council to flex its aerial muscles with the latest F-16 variant.

With a production count that stands at five for Bahrain and another 11 in the pipeline undergoing various stages of production and testing, Lockheed Martin is not just building jets; they’re crafting history. The leading edge of these aerial marvels has been cutting through the skies at Edwards Air Force Base, California, under the watchful eyes of the 416th Flight Test Squadron.

OJ Sanchez, the aerodynamic aficionado and vice president and general manager of the Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed Martin, highlighted the quantum leap the F-16 Block 70 represents in the fighter jet arena. “Strap in and watch as the Royal Bahraini Air Force takes air defense into the stratosphere, ensuring that the skies remain as clear as their vision for security,” Sanchez exclaimed, lauding the seamless integration of this aircraft into a global partnership of allies.

With over 3,100 F-16s soaring in the service of 25 countries, this jet isn’t just flying; it’s setting a gold standard for reliability and versatility in the skies. Sanchez also tipped his hat to the enduring alliance between the U.S., Bahrain, and Lockheed Martin, a triumvirate committed to the principles of defense, economic prosperity, and cultural bonds.

The F-16 Block 70 isn’t just any jet—it’s the crown jewel of 4.5-generation technology. Boasting the APG-83 AESA Radar, cutting-edge avionics, and a cockpit so modern it might as well be from the future, these jets are locked, loaded, and ready to redefine air combat. From conformal fuel tanks that promise longer flights to engines that punch harder and an Auto GCAS that’s already saving pilots’ lives, these jets are a testament to Lockheed Martin’s innovation and commitment to safety.

For over half a century, Lockheed Martin has been a beacon of security and technological advancement in the Middle East. With 133 F-16 Block 70 jets on order for six countries and an outlook that hints at up to 300 more, the skies are just the beginning of this high-flying tale of aerospace achievement.

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