United Arab Emirates Announces Decision to Purchase 80 F-16s
FORT WORTH, TX, May 12th, 1998 -- The government of the United Arab Emirates today announced that it has selected Lockheed Martin's new "Block 60" F-16 as its advanced fighter aircraft. His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces, in ceremonies attended by President Clinton, Vice President Gore and other administration officials and key congressional leaders, announced today that the U.A.E. will order 80 F-16s. The total program including weapons and support is valued at approximately $7 billion. His Highness Sheikh Khalifa was accompanied by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, U.A.E. Armed Forces Chief of Staff.
The U.A.E. fighter decision ends an intensive evaluation process that originally included the F-16, the McDonnell Douglas F-15 and several other advanced fighters, including the French Rafale and the Eurofighter. The U.A.E. is the launch customer for the newest version of the F-16, which incorporates a number of new systems and technologies for the multirole fighter mission.
The decision underscores the growing relationship between the United States and the U.A.E.
"This decision is outstanding news for Lockheed Martin and the worldwide F-16 community. It also strengthens the valued, strategically important friendship that has long existed between the United States and the United Arab Emirates," said Vance D. Coffman, chairman and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin.
"The U.A.E. Air Force team conducted a rigorous technical and flight evaluation. They are keenly aware of their defense requirements and have thoroughly analyzed the capabilities required to meet those needs. We are particularly pleased the F-16 met the tough standards that were established for this evaluation," said Dain M. Hancock, president of Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems, Fort Worth, Tex.
"By the final analysis and recommendations of the U.A.E, the F-16 has once again been affirmed as the world leader in capability, versatility and superb quality. We are honored that our company has been selected to work with the U.A.E. in the implementation of this program, and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship," Hancock said.
The F-16 has been the most successful fighter on the international market by all measures: numbers sold, numerous repeat customers, maintainability, combat operations, successful industrial programs and others. The F-16 aircraft has been continuously updated to remain current with improvements in systems and weapons technology over the span of its production.
The development of new features that make up the Block 60 will ensure the F-16 remains the world's most capable multirole fighter until the next- generation Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) enters service. The upgrade package consists of a range of modern systems including conformal fuel tanks for greater range, new cockpit displays, an internal sensor suite, a new mission computer and other advanced features including a new agile beam radar.
A contract with the U.A.E. is expected to be signed later this year. Aircraft deliveries are expected to begin in 2002.
As of May 1, Lockheed Martin had delivered more than 3,700 F-16 aircraft to the air forces of 19 countries. The company's contracted backlog as of May 1 includes orders for approximately 260 additional F-16s, not counting the 80 in the U.A.E. sale.