Lockheed Martin announced the successful flight of the first Slovakian F-16 Block 70.
The flight occurred Sept. 29 at 9:30 a.m. EST at Lockheed Martin’s production facility in Greenville, South Carolina, with test pilot Ryan ‘Cujo’ Blake successfully conducting multiple system tests to validate performance and supersonic capabilities during the flight.
Slovakia will be the first European country to receive the F-16 Block 70.
“The Slovak Air Force is taking significant steps forward with the capabilities of the F-16, the integration of this proven platform will allow the Slovak Air Force to effectively safeguard its borders and partner with allies across Europe, NATO and the world.”OJ Sanchez, vice president and general manager, Integrated Fighter Group, Lockheed Martin.
This F-16 Block 70 jet is the first of 14 to be delivered to Slovakia. The country signed its Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for 14 F-16s in December 2018.
“The F-16 Block 70 offers allies and partners advanced 21st Century Security capabilities, affordable operating and lifecycle costs, and strategic partnership opportunities, it’s a state-of-the-art fighter aircraft system that our Greenville, South Carolina, team is proud to build. The production line in Greenville is a national security asset, providing F-16 fighter capabilities to allies around the world, like Slovakia, who will rely on this platform for peacekeeping within their own borders and those of their partners.”OJ Sanchez, vice president and general manager, Integrated Fighter Group, Lockheed Martin.
Six countries have selected Block 70/72 aircraft. In addition to the current official backlog of 126 jets, Jordan last year signed an LOA for 12 jets and Bulgaria signed an LOA for an additional eight jets. Once these are finalized, the backlog will increase to 146.