Bahrain has officially become the first country in the world to receive F-16 Block 70 aircraft, which is considered to be the “newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration,” according to Lockheed Martin.
The historic handover took place at the Lockheed Martin Facility in Greenville, South Carolina, USA, in the presence of officials from Bahrain and the United States of America. The event marked a significant milestone for the F-16 Block 70 programmes.
The first of the 16 F-16 Block 70 jets for Bahrain completed its first flight on January 24, 2023. Following this, the jet is undergoing additional flight tests at Edwards Air Force Base before arriving in Bahrain in 2024, as per reports.
The acquisition of these advanced fighter jets will enhance the Bahrain Royal Air Force’s capabilities and ensure the country’s security and stability. It is a moment of pride and celebration for the Kingdom of Bahrain, which has always been at the forefront of adopting the latest technologies to modernize its military.
Leveraging hardware and software commonality with F-22 and F-35 AESA radars, Northrop Grumman’s advanced APG-83 AESA radar equips Block 70/72 with 5th Generation fighter radar capabilities. The new fighter jet also features a high-resolution Centre Pedestal Display (CPD), which provides tactical imagery to pilots and allows them to fully utilize AESA and targeting pod data.
Developed by Lockheed Martin, the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS) was specifically designed to prevent deadly crashes. Additionally, Block 70/72 boasts an industry-leading extended structural life of 12,000 hours, which is over 50% more than that of previous production F-16 aircraft.