Bahrain Could Keep Lockheed Martin’s F-16 line Open

3 October 2016

The White House has approved a series of big-ticket fighter sales to Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain (Defense News). While Boeing stands to benefit the most through F-15SE and F/A-18E/F sales to Qatar and Kuwait, respectively, an F-16 sale to Bahrain could finally be Lockheed Martin’s ticket to keep its F-16 production line open for the next three to five years.

The F-16V is the latest iteration of the venerable F-16 Fighting Falcon series. Its primary addition (over the Block-50/52) is the AN/APG-83 active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar.

Earlier in the year, Lockheed Martin had hinged its hopes on a proposed sale of eight F-16C/D Block-52 to Pakistan, but that fell through because of Congress’ refusal to approve of Foreign Military Financing (FMF) support to help subsidize the sale.

At the moment, the fighter sale proposals are underdoing informal review in Congress, but within 40 days, the State Department will release an official outline of the proposed contract.

Bloomberg is reporting that Bahrain could order 19 F-16V for $2.8 billion U.S. (this probably includes air-to-air and/or air-to-surface munitions alongside the requisite maintenance and logistics support package). An upgrade package for Bahrain’s existing 21 F-16C/Ds worth $1 billion is also reportedly on the docket.


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