The F-16 orderbook will take until 2017 to work off, and Lockheed Martin anticipates there may be a market for a further 50 airplanes, said Rod McLean, company vice president and general manager for the F-16 and F-22. Speaking with reporters at a Lockheed Martin media event in Arlington, Va., on Wednesday, McLean said the company is producing F-16s for Iraq, but there is “considerable” interest in both new-build F-16s and substantial modifications. “We have already reduced our footprint in Fort Worth,” Texas, where F-16s have been built since the mid-1970s, McLean said, and there is “no near-term pressure” to make space for more F-35 work there. Lockheed is making F-16s at a rate of one per month, so an additional 50 jets would extend the line potentially to 2021. That would make the Viper the longest in-production fighter by far (outstripping the MiG-21, which was produced for 26 years). There’s also enough capacity that Lockheed could build more than one a month if a customer needed jets faster, McLean said. He added that “even if we do have a gap” in orders, the operation is efficient enough that it could take a break and “stand up that line” again without too much difficulty. There “continues to be a market for a fourth-generation aircraft,” he said.
May 23, 2022
The Department of the Air Force announced the retirements of several key leaders within the Air Force and Space Force on May 23, while also unveiling more than a dozen new assignments for current or future one-star generals.