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Mon, Jan 15, 2024

Lockheed Delivers First F-16V’s to Slovakia

New Fighters Will Replace Aged MiG-29s With NATO Spec Aircraft

Lockheed Martin has delivered the first pair of Slovakian F-16 Block 70 jets, making good on the first of 8 jets to be delivered through 2025.

The newest, most future-proofed version of the F-16 Falcon offers Slovakia a quantitative leap in capability, bolstering the country's fleet of modern fighter and strike aircraft with an affordable little multitool of an aircraft. The aircraft will replace their aging MiG-29s, adding additional capability (and single-engine burn rates) while integrating into NATO infrastructure.

The original deal had been floated with plenty of missiles to feed them, including 30 AIM-120C7 AAMs, 100 AIM-9X AAMs, 12 AIM-9X Captive Air Training Missiles, 2 AIM-120C7s, and a whole host of ground-pounding munitions. As requested via the State Department in 2018, the Slovakians were originally slated to also buy 224 Computer Control and Airfoil Groups for GBU-12 Paveway II 5001b Guided Bombs; 20 Computer Control Groups for the Enhanced Paveway II (GBU-49); 150 KMU-572F/B Guidance Kits for Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) 5001b Guided Bombs (GBU-38); 60 LAU-129 Guided – Missile Launchers;36 MK-82 or BLU-111 500 lb Inert Fill Bombs; 400 MK-82 or BLU-111 500 lb Bomb Bodies;400 FMU-152 Joint Programmable Fuzes; and a half-dozen AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Pods. While it's not an exhaustive list, it goes to show exactly how much is required to kickstart the switch to an all-new fighter platform after decades operating something entirely incompatible.

OJ Sanchez, vice president and general manager of the Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed Martin, emphasized the significance of this delivery: "The delivery of the first two F-16 Block 70 jets to Slovakia signifies a crucial starting point in bolstering the country’s defense capabilities. We are proud to be part of this endeavor and are committed to delivering a total of 14 jets to Slovakia."

Sanchez continued: "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. We stand committed to our mission of advancing 21st Century Security through cost-effective operations and strategic partnerships, ensuring the safety and well-being of U.S. allies."

Lockheed notes that the delivery leaves 12 more to go in order to fill the original sale of 14 F-16 Block 70 jets. Bulgaria recently signaled interest for another 8 aircraft, which will increase the backlog of Falcons to 143 jets in all.



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