Demand for F-16 fighter proving a boon to industry

Global demand for the evergreen F-16 fighter is continuing to provide industry associated with the platform unexpected benefits more than four decades after the earliest iterations of the type first entered service.

In an announcement on September 2, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) stated that it had resumed the production of F-16 wings for Lockheed Martin from its assembly line established in the 1980s, following increase worldwide demand for the F-16 Block 70/72 fighter.

IAI restarting F-16 wing manufacture
IAI has restarted manufacturing F-16 wings due to global demand for the F-16 Block 70 variant. IAI

According to the company, five countries have chosen the latest Block 70/72 F-16 to equip their fighter fleet, with the wings produced from the restarted line being shipped to the platform’s final assembly line in South Carolina, US.

Boaz Levy, IAI's President & CEO, said: “The F-16 assembly line once again joins IAI's assembly centre of excellence for the production of fighter aircraft wings. The centre also produces F-35 wings along with T-38 wings for the American defence establishment.”

Also on September 2, Lockheed Martin stated that additional F-16 parts manufacturing work would be given to its facility in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, as a result of demand for the fighter. Parts to be produced in Johnstown include the aft engine access covers, engine access doors, F-1 fuel tank, and inlet.

Upon completion the parts will be shipped to Greenville, South Carolina, for final assembly and integration into F-16s on the production line, in addition to F-16 component and sub-assembly work already performed at the site.

Early work in Johnstown will begin this year, with the bulk of personnel recruitment and other efforts beginning in 2022. In addition to the F-16 work, the Johnstown facility also provides parts and services for the F-35 and F-22 fighter jets, and the C-130 military transport aircraft.