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Lockheed Martin Commemorates 25th Anniversary of First Global Production F-16 Delivery
PRNewswire-FirstCall
FORT WORTH, Texas

Lockheed Martin celebrated the first production delivery of its F-16 Fighting Falcon on this date 25 years ago. The F-16 has been one of the most successful military aircraft programs in history and has paved the way for unprecedented partnerships and cooperation among global air forces, governments and industries.

Since that historic day in 1978, 4,092 F-16s have been produced in factories in five countries (United States, Belgium, Netherlands, Turkey and Korea) and delivered to the air forces of 20 countries. Over the next three years, four additional countries (United Arab Emirates, Chile, Oman and Poland) will receive their first F-16s, for a total of 24 customers worldwide. There is a current backlog of 325 aircraft on order that will deliver through 2008.

"The two main reasons for the F-16's unprecedented success are high capability and affordable cost," said John L. Bean, vice president of F-16 programs. "The F-16 started out as a revolutionary fighter in terms of technology, and we have continued to employ the latest technologies to expand and improve its capabilities. Our customers have invested several billion dollars in the last few years in major upgrades to the aircraft, both in production and retrofit, to keep it the most-capable multirole fighter in operation.

"We consider the F-16 to be the most versatile fighter in the world -- able to perform all combat missions with distinction, employing the world's largest inventory of weapons and sensors, and tailored to meet individual customer requirements, as evidenced by 123 different versions produced or in development.

"It is also the world's most affordable front-line fighter, having the lowest cost to procure, operate and support. High capability at low cost means tremendous value to every customer."

Dain M. Hancock, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., said, "The F-16 has been a major source for developing technical competencies for our company that have put us on the path to becoming the world's center of excellence for combat aircraft. We have expanded that competency base to now be entrusted with the development of the next generation of fighter aircraft to include the F/A-22 and F-35."

In addition to the F-16's unmatched performance, the aircraft program is a pioneer in forging international relationships that eventually led to unprecedented cooperation on such programs as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The F-16's legacy includes a historic agreement with Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway in 1975 for the procurement of and coproduction of 348 F-16s in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force's original plans to buy 650. Half of the F-16s ordered are for international customers.

"The success of the F-16 and associated international industrial cooperation activities have helped establish Lockheed Martin Corporation as an international partner of choice," said Hancock, who also has the title of corporate executive vice president for Aeronautics. "We highly value these relationships, and they have helped launch other international business opportunities for the corporation.

"The F-16 has been a huge success for Lockheed Martin and its predecessor companies in Fort Worth. We expect the F-16 to remain a significant portion of our business for many years. This will involve continued production alongside of the F/A-22 and F-35, plus post-production support and modifications for a large worldwide fleet."

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., a business area of Lockheed Martin, is a leader in the design, development, systems integration, production and support of advanced military aircraft and related technologies. Its customers include the military services of the United States and allied countries throughout the world. Products include the F-16, F/A-22, F-35 JSF, F-117, T-50, C-5, C-27J, C-130, C-130J, P-3, S-3 and U-2.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin Corp. employs about 125,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2002 sales of $26.6 billion.

             For additional information, visit our Web sites:
                      http://www.lockheedmartin.com/
                       http://www.lmaeronautics.com/

         F-16 is a registered trademark of Lockheed Martin Corp.

   Editor's Note:  F-16 fact sheet follows

  F-16 Facts

The F-16 is unique among fighters on the worldwide market today. It is fully modern, yet fully proven. It is a consistent winner, unmatched in many categories:

   --  Best fighter value - first-rate capability at affordable cost to
       procure, operate and support
   --  Most sought-after fighter - 4,400+ ordered by 24 countries; winner of
       two-thirds of all competitions in lifetime; more than 90 percent of
       U.S. fighter export orders since 1995; more than 150 refurbished
       aircraft transferred to six countries
   --  Highest customer satisfaction - 49 follow-on orders by 14 countries
   --  Most versatile multirole fighter - excels in all fighter missions,
       many system options, largest stores inventory (100+ stores in 5,000
       certified loadings)
   --  Backbone of fighter forces - main fighter in USAF, other air forces,
       NATO and coalitions; continues for many years into future
   --  Outstanding flight performance - agility, mission radius, handling
       qualities
   --  Well-organized modernization programs employing latest technologies -
       production block upgrade program since beginning; major retrofit
       upgrades for all versions; technology sharing among customers,
       production/retrofit programs, and other platforms (like F/A-22 and
       F-35)
   --  Most upgraded fighter in history - continuous improvements to
       sensors, avionics, cockpit, electronic warfare systems, engines,
       airframe systems and structure
   --  Favorite technology flight-test bed - demonstration and development
       of most new fighter systems and weapons; applications to multiple
       aircraft types
   --  Design leader - many features adopted for other aircraft such as
       Taiwan IDF, Japan F-2 and Korea T-50.  First operational fighter to
       introduce such advanced technologies as bubble canopy, side-stick
       controller, high-g cockpit, modular construction, fly-by-wire flight,
       longitudinal instability, large forebody strakes, wing-body blending,
       automatic variable camber wing, MIL-STD-1553 multiplex avionics bus
       and fiber optic data buses, Global Positioning Systems and integrated
       navigation solution, ventral conformal fuel tanks, certain new
       precision weapons
   --  Favorite flight-demonstration aircraft - USAF Thunderbirds, USAF
       numbered air force demo aircraft, other air forces
   --  Most wins in weapons competitions - both air-to-air and air-to-ground
   --  Most combat experience - many major operations, 10 air forces,
       200,000+ combat sorties, 71:0 air combat record
   --  Most reliable, maintainable, supportable - proven in worldwide
       operations at 80+ bases in every climate, size of force and support
       concept; worldwide logistics network with depot capability in more
       than a dozen countries
   --  Best training opportunities - maintenance and pilot training by U.S.
       Air Force and F-16 industrial team
   --  Outstanding safety record - continually improving over 25 years and
       10 million flight hours
   --  Best interoperability - proven in many NATO and coalition operations
   --  Lowest lifetime risk - affordable worldwide logistics support and
       upgrades for the many users over next 30+ years - assured by
       governments and defense industries led by the United States
   --  Full spectrum of acquisition alternatives - lease/purchase, new/used,
       contracting and financing options
   --  Largest and most successful multinational coproduction program - 12
       countries, assembly lines in five countries
   --  Largest and most successful defense industrial cooperation - high-
       technology transfer, more than $30 billion in 24 countries already
       achieved, meeting or exceeded all commitments
   --  Most successful DoD acquisition program - consistently meeting
       requirements of technical capability, cost, schedule and quality;
       leader in acquisition initiatives including multiyear procurement;
       meeting latest standards of quality and environmental/health/safety;
       winning many prestigious awards.

SOURCE: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company

CONTACT: Liz Brannan, +1-817-935-4833, or +1-817-762-1441, or
liz.brannan@lmco.com , or Sam Grizzle, +1-770-494-3211, or
sam.c.grizzle@lmco.com , both of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company