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First Slovakian F-16 Block 70 Jets Delivered

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F-16 Slovakia
The first Slovakian F-16D Block 70 takes off from Lockheed Martin’s facilities. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

The two aircraft, together with the rest of the first ferry cell, will arrive in Slovakia by mid-2024.

Lockheed Martin announced the formal delivery of the first two newly built F-16s Block 70 for the Slovak Air Force. The aircraft, a single seater F-16C (SloAF sn 1001, USAF sn 20-4001) and twin seater F-16D (SloAF sn 1101, USAF sn 20-4013) flew for the first time from the company facilities in Greenville, South Carolina, on Sept.29, 2023 and Dec. 15, 2023, respectively.

“The delivery of the first two F-16 Block 70 jets to Slovakia signifies a crucial starting point in bolstering the country’s defense capabilities,” said OJ Sanchez, vice president and general manager of the Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed Martin, emphasizing the significance of this delivery. “We are proud to be part of this endeavor and are committed to delivering a total of 14 jets to Slovakia.”

The aircraft will arrive in Slovakia by mid-2024, once the other F-16s of the first ferry cell are ready. Slovakia will be the first European country to receive newly built F-16 Block 70 aircraft, following Greece that introduced in service its upgraded Block 72 aircraft. Once in service, the F-16 Block 70 will replace Slovakia’s fleet of MiG-29 Fulcrum that were retired in 2022 and donated to Ukraine.

These F-16s are the first two out of a total order of 14 aircraft, of which 12 will be single seater F-16Cs and two will be twin-seater F-16D. The country signed its Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for 14 F-16s in December 2018, although the production was delayed for various causes, before finally starting once the F-16 production was relocated to Greenville.

The first Slovakian F-16C Block 70 during the first flight. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

So far, six countries have selected the F-16 Block 70/72 and Lockheed Martin says that there is a current backlog of 135 jets. Furthermore, Bulgaria has signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for an additional eight jets for its fleet. Once the agreement is finalized, the backlog will increase by eight.

The F-16 Block 70/72 are the most advanced production Vipers (as the F-16s are dubbed within the fighter pilot community) featuring the APG-83 AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar, a new Center Pedestal Display (CPD), the AN/APX-126 Advanced IFF (Identification Friend or Foe), Link 16 datalink, full NVIS (Night Vision Imaging System) and JHCMS II (Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System II) compatibility, a new Embedded GPS/INS (EGI), a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, a high-volume, high-speed data bus and the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS).

Stefano D’Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he’s also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.





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