Evaluating the Viper’s Future

Initial reports on the full-scale durability test of an Air Force Block 50 F-16C have not produced any “significant” findings, showing promising potential for the long-term health of the fleet, Lockheed Martin officials said on Tuesday. Lockheed in November wrapped up its testing on the Fighting Falcon, testing the aircraft to 27,713 equivalent flight hours to see how the jet’s body would hold up to extensive flight and test the lifespan of the jet. Susan Ouzts, the vice president of Lockheed’s F-16 program, told reporters on March 15 that an initial report earlier this month showed nothing significant, and a full report on the test will come this summer. Lockheed is finishing up its current, on-the-books production of the F-16 with seven more jets headed to the Iraqi Air Force out of a total buy of 18. The company is looking for more international customers for the F-16, offering the new F-16V, which was developed for the Taiwan air force, to keep the company’s line going before it could go cold in late 2017.