Lockheed Martin to build eight F-16 Block 70 jet fighters and avionics for Bulgaria in $512 million deal

April 8, 2020
The Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 features the advanced fourth-generation fighter aircraft capabilities for Bulgaria and NATO.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – Aerial warfare experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. will provide eight F-16 Block 70 single-seat jet fighters to the government of Bulgaria under terms of a $512 million contract announced last week.

Officials of the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, are asking the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics segment in Fort Worth, Texas, to build the Block 70 F-16 aircraft, which is the newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration.

The F-16 Block 70 avionics has the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. This variant, called the Viper, first flew in October 2015. It has a center pedestal display, and a modernized mission computer.

The Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 features the most advanced fourth-generation fighter aircraft capabilities in NATO’s inventory today, company officials say. The F-16 has been flying since 1974.

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The plane also has structural upgrades to extend the structural life of the aircraft. Included is an advanced data link, targeting pod, weapons, GPS navigation, and automatic ground collision avoidance system (Auto GCAS).

The F-16 Block 70 features technologies developed for the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor jet fighters in a low-risk solution for Bulgaria’s and NATO defense needs, Lockheed Martin officials say.

The F-16 Block 70 package for Bulgaria includes training for pilots and ground crew, logistics, support equipment and weapons.

Related: Air Force increases its buy of advanced F-16 jet fighter SABR AESA radar avionics buy from Northrop Grumman

More than 700 F-16s are flying in Europe, giving Bulgaria an interoperable single-engine jet fighter. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 manufacturing facility in Greenville, S.C., handles F-16 Block 70 production for Bulgaria, Bahrain, and Slovakia.

On this contract Lockheed Martin will do the work in Fort Worth, Texas, and Greenville, S.C., and should be finished by January 2027. For more information contact Lockheed Martin Aeronautics online at www.lockheedmartin.com, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.aflcmc.af.mil.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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