Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth will keep building F-16s a bit longer, thanks to an $830 million contract to supply 18 of the jet fighters to Iraq. According to the announcement this week from the Air Force, the contract is expected to run through April 30, 2014. It is the second group of F-16s for Iraq, which also acquired 18 of the jets in December 2011. At that time the Pentagon had said it planned another batch for Iraq.
It's the latest in a continuing string of orders for the fiesty aircraft, which saw its 4,500th delivery last year. Just days after the 2011 order for Iraq, Oman ordered a dozen F-16s. And in October 2012, Taiwan placed an order worth up to $1.85 billion to upgrade its aging fleet of 145 F-16s. Lockheed had said prior to the latest Iraq order that its backlog for F-16 orders was enough to keep the program busy into 2015.
-- Jim Fuquay