September 29, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Lockheed Martin delivers first F-16 Block 70 fighter to Slovak Air Force

Lockheed Martin delivers first F-16 Block 70 fighter to Slovak Air Force

Through an official event held on September 6, Lockheed Martin delivered the first F-16 Block 70 fighter to the Slovak Air Force.. The presentation of the new production fighter aircraft was held at the plant located in the city of Greenville, South Carolina, within the framework of the visit of Slovak Defense Minister Martin Sklenar.

Minister of Defense of the Slovak Republic Martin Sklenar (left) and Martin OJ Sanchez (right), Vice President of the Combined Warfare Group at Lockheed.

During the event, Lockheed Martin presented the first of fourteen fighter jets in its single-seat F-16C version. The first fighter will begin its flight tests in November, before deliveries to the Slovak Air Force begin in the second quarter of 2024. With this, the country will be the first European country to receive an upgraded version and modernized Fighting Falcon. Block 70 “Viber”.

In mid-2018, Slovakia chose the F-16 Black 70 over the Saab Gripen to renew its fleet of fighter jets to replace the aging MiG-29 of Soviet origin. It was transferred to Ukraine. The package for 14 fighter jets (12 F-16C and 2 F-16D) includes BVR AMRAAM AIM-120C7 air-to-air missiles and Raytheon’s AIM-9X Sidewinder, reaching approximately US$1.6 billion.

This F-16 Block 70 aircraft is the first of 14 aircraft delivered to the Slovak Republic.

For his part, the head of the Slovak Defense Ministry highlighted the future incorporation of the Viper into the Central European country’s air force: “I am very happy to have the opportunity to see the first fighter aircraft that will take our air force forward for decades. It is the Slovak Republic’s largest investment project in modernizing our armed forces and is an opportunity to strengthen our strategic partnership.“, Martin Schlennar highlighted.

“These F-16s will allow the Air Force of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic to sustain threats in the region and participate in friendly missions in Europe, NATO and around the world,” said the Lockheed vice president. Martin’s Integrated Fighter Group, OJ Sanchez. “This represents a strong collaboration between Lockheed Martin, the United States, the Slovak Republic and allies” he added.

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Slovakia is not the only country to purchase the newly produced F-16 Block 70. Other countries that have purchased aircraft include Bahrain (16 aircraft), Bulgaria (8 aircraft), Colombia (14 aircraft), Greece (24 aircraft), Jordan (12 aircraft), Morocco (25 aircraft), and Romania (32 aircraft). Taiwan (66 flights).

*Photos: Lockheed Martin – Ministry of Defense of Slovakia.

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