Anatolian Viper Rebred

Lockheed Martin and partner Turkish Aerospace Industries rolled out the first Turkish-built F-16 Block 50 aircraft in a ceremony at TAI’s plant near Ankara, Turkey. “Lockheed Martin values the partnerships we have established with the Turkish government, military, and industry over the past quarter century,” said Ralph Heath, Lockheed’s aeronautics executive vice president, in a company release. The Turkish Air Force has ordered a total of 30 new-build, advanced F-16s in a deal worth an estimated $1.8 billion. Lockheed and TAI are slated to deliver all 30 by the end of 2012. TAI has assembled 232 F-16s for the Turkish Air Force and 46 for export to Egypt since license production began in 1987, reports Turkey’s Daily Zaman. Beyond Turkey, Lockheed officials say international demand for the F-16 remains strong, with several export customers on the horizon like Iraq and Oman.