Bahrain’s $2.78 billion order for 22 newproduction Lockheed Martin Block 70/72 F-16Vs and a $1.08 billion order for 20 of its current Block 40 F-16C and F-16D versions to be upgraded to F-16V standard both received approval by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency on September 8.
The Block 70/72 F-16V, the most advanced version of the Fighting Falcon, is equipped with Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array Scalable Agile Beam Radar, a new Raytheon mission computer, Link 16-compatible datalink, upgraded cockpit displays, an enhanced electronic warfare system and a groundcollision avoidance system
The order has been the subject of bilateral negotiations for several years, but President Obama’s administration held up approval, despite strong US-Bahrain defence cooperation and basing agreements, to express disapproval of Bahrain’s human rights record. This policy was reversed by the current administration earlier this year.
David C Isby