Bahrain has taken a significant step in boosting its air defense capabilities with the delivery of its first F-16 Block 70 jet from Lockheed Martin. The occasion marks a milestone moment for the Gulf nation as it looks to transform its air force for the next generation.
This delivery is the first of 16 jets that Bahrain has ordered from Lockheed Martin, with the remaining jets expected to arrive in the country in 2024. The F-16 Block 70, the latest version of the F-16, boasts advanced avionics, weapons systems, and radar capabilities, making it one of the most capable fighter jets in the world.
Bahrain is not the only country that recognizes the potential of the F-16 Block 70. Six other countries have already selected the Block 70/72 aircraft, with many nations lauding its advanced capabilities and reliability.
The F-16 program is one of Lockheed Martin’s most successful projects, with over 4,600 aircraft delivered to over 30 countries. The F-16 Block 70 has proven to be an especially popular model, with countries such as Jordan and Bulgaria signing a Letter of Offer and Acceptance for 12 and eight jets respectively.
With the delivery of the F-16 Block 70 jets, Bahrain’s air force is set to receive a significant boost in its defense capabilities, enabling it to better protect its borders and defend against potential threats. The new jets will join Bahrain’s existing fleet of F-16s and other aircraft, including the F-5E/F Tiger II, Eurofighter Typhoon, and AH-1Z Viper.
The F-16 Block 70 jet that Bahrain received took its first flight on January 24, 2023, and will undergo additional flight tests at Edwards Air Force Base before it arrives in the country next year.
Bahrain’s history with the F-16 goes back to the early 1990s when it became the first F-16 operator in the Gulf Cooperation Council. Now, with the latest iteration of the fighter jet, the Gulf nation is set to take its air defense capabilities to the next level.
“The F-16 celebrated today represents the next generation of the powerful and proven legacy of the F-16,” said OJ Sanchez, vice president of the Integrated Fighter Group. “With the Block 70 iteration, we are transforming 4th generation for the next generation for the Royal Bahraini Air Force and other partners and allies around the world.”
Danya Trent, vice president of F-16 Programs and Greenville site leader, said, “The F-16 Block 70 provides advanced 21st Century Security capabilities to the warfighter. Lockheed Martin is committed to advancing this program and getting this much-needed aircraft to the warfighter.”
The delivery of the F-16 Block 70 jet is not only a significant moment for Bahrain’s air defense capabilities, but also for Lockheed Martin’s F-16 program. The company’s highly skilled and committed workforce in Greenville, South Carolina, built the jet, with Trent adding, “We are proud to call Greenville the global home of the F-16 and look forward to continuing to produce jets serving missions around the world.”
The F-16 Block 70 jet represents the latest and most advanced technology in air defense capabilities, and Bahrain’s acquisition of these jets shows the nation’s commitment to enhancing its security and defense.