Lockheed Martin's First '24-Month F-16' Demonstrates Process Streamlining
FORT WORTH, Texas, June 4th, 1998 -- Lockheed Martin has used commercial practices and other improvements to reduce the manufacturing span time for the F-16 aircraft from its previous 36-42 months to only 24 months, which the company demonstrated on May 28 in delivering a Fighting Falcon produced for the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
Agreements were signed in 1996 for Singapore to lease 12 new F-16s under a commercial contract. Among other improvements, the contract allowed equipment usually designated as government-furnished items – including the radars and other major systems – to be procured by Lockheed Martin using commercial practices with compressed lead-times.
Lockheed Martin’s Tactical Aircraft Systems plant has implemented actions to streamline the acquisition of major equipment and to further improve the overall F-16 production process, said Dain M. Hancock, president of Tactical Aircraft Systems.
"We know our customers expect timely delivery of high quality, affordable products, so we’ve made responsiveness to these needs a top priority as we work to implement ‘lean thinking’ throughout the company," Hancock said. "Compressing the F-16 delivery span to 24 months has been a major challenge, and we are extremely proud of our employees and suppliers for making this achievement possible," he said.
"Although we call this a ‘24-month F-16,’ we actually beat our goal for the initial one and delivered it in less than 22 months after contract go-ahead," he added.
In April Singapore took formal delivery of the first of 18 new F-16C/Ds being produced under an aircraft order placed in mid-1994. Those aircraft and the 12 in the 1996 lot are being delivered concurrently, as a result of the company’s process streamlining.
The 12 aircraft in the newest lot are being provided under a long-term lease and will be used to support Singapore’s pilot training activities in the United States.
Lockheed Martin is offering reduced production spans in its current F-16 sales efforts. While the new Singapore F-16s are being produced in under 24 months, some customers’ aircraft will require longer spans because of systems development, configuration tailoring and logistics support considerations. "We are working to achieve further reductions in all aspects of our development and manufacturing processes, as part of our preparations for the aircraft programs for the future," Hancock said.
The Tactical Aircraft Systems unit has previously been recognized for its production affordability success and for industry leadership in supporting Department of Defense acquisition reform initiatives.
The F-16 is the world’s most sought-after combat aircraft with more than 3,700 delivered to date to air forces in 19 countries. Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems also produces one-third of the F-22 and is the lead company in Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) development program. The company also participates in production of Japan’s F-2 fighter and is working with Korean industry on the KTX-2 supersonic trainer project.