Shaul Mofaz, Israel's Minister of Defense, accepted the aircraft on behalf of his nation.
"This is a key moment in our national defense history," Mofaz said. "The F-16I's strong characteristics elevate our air force to a new level of capability. This acquisition not only enhances our military strength but contributes to our nation through significant industrial cooperation."
Lockheed Martin was represented by Dr. Vance Coffman, chairman and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin Corp.; Dain M. Hancock, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Corp., and president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, and John Bean, vice president of F-16 programs.
"We are proud to provide the IAF with the hallmark of their arsenal of modern fighter aircraft," Bean said. "This program illustrates the strong bond between Lockheed Martin and Israel; we hope to strengthen that relationship through our continuing commitment to this program."
This purchase program, called Peace Marble V, contains 102 two-seat aircraft and is the largest Israeli acquisition yet, raising the total number of IAF F-16s to 362. Among Lockheed Martin's 24 F-16 customers, Israel's Fighting Falcon fleet is second in number only to the United States Air Force. The program also involves a large military industrial cooperation program, providing $1.5 billion in offsets directly contributing to Israeli industry.
The F-16I is specially designed for Israel. Named the "Soufa," or "storm" in Hebrew by the IAF, it will provide a key element of Israel's defense posture. It will incorporate the latest technology and capabilities in an air combat fighter, such as modern core avionics, color cockpits featuring moving maps, conformal fuel tanks and advanced electronic warfare displays. The APG- 68(V)9 multimode radar includes Synthetic Aperture Radar ground mapping capability.
The F-16I is powered by the Pratt and Whitney F100 Improved Performance Engine, with the capability to carry 52,000 lbs. in takeoff gross weight, the most ever for an F-16. It incorporates a dorsal equipment compartment and a fully missionized rear cockpit. Along with hosting the latest in electronic countermeasures equipment, the F-16I will be compatible with a wide variety of stores including day/night navigation and targeting pods, advanced air-to-air missiles, and precision "smart" weapons.
The F-16 is the choice of 24 countries. More than 4,000 aircraft have been delivered worldwide from assembly lines in five countries. The F-16 program recently marked 25 years of continuous production deliveries and has forged relationships leading to unprecedented international cooperation, including the participation of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elbit, and other Israeli industrial partnerships. Hundreds more aircraft are on order, and production is expected to continue beyond 2010. Major upgrades for all F-16 versions are being incorporated to keep the fleet modern and fully supportable over the aircraft's long service life.
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-130, C-130J, P-3, S-3 and U-2.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin 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.
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SOURCE: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company
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