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The aircraft is the first of the Block 60 line, which has been designated the F-16E/F version. It is the first of 80 F-16E/F Block 60 aircraft being produced for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under an order placed in early 2000.
"The first flight of the new F-16E/F is a major milestone in the long F-16 legacy," said Dain M. Hancock, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. "With the Block 60, we have introduced a whole new generation of capability that sets the current world standard for multirole fighters."
The aircraft's designation, F-16E/F, recognizes the major structural, avionics and propulsion enhancements in this practically all-new version of the Fighting Falcon. The last designation change, the F-16C/D, was introduced with the Block 25 version in 1984.
Following takeoff, Lockheed Martin F-16E/F chief test pilot Steve Barter put the F-16 through an initial flight-test profile that included evaluation of the on-board avionics systems and aircraft handling characteristics. Flight duration was about 50 minutes.
"This was not just an 'around the airfield' exercise," Barter said. "We flew some important test points and made this a meaningful flight-test sortie. Not only was this important historically, it was the first and crucial element of our flight-test program."
"First flight affirms our commitment to produce the world's most cutting-edge fighter, which cannot be rivaled in its combination of speed, technology and capability," said John L. Bean, Lockheed Martin vice president for F-16 programs.
The F-16E/F resembles earlier F-16 aircraft in appearance only. Internally, the Block 60 has an all-new cockpit that features all-digital instruments and three 5x7-inch color displays. It is powered by a General Electric F110-GE-132 engine that produces 32,500 pounds of thrust. Additionally, the F-16E/F features a new avionics suite with highlights including a revolutionary Electronic Warfare (EW) system, the new APG-80 Agile Beam Radar (ABR) and a new Integrated FLIR Targeting System (IFTS), all provided by Northrop Grumman.
First production deliveries of the UAE aircraft are slated for April 2004.
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. 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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