Lockheed Martin has successfully handed the first two F-16 Block 70 jets to Slovakia.
Deliveries are scheduled to continue through 2025. The first fighters are expected to arrive in Slovakia in mid-2024.
“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,” OJ Sanchez, the Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin’s Integrated Fighter Group, commented. “We are proud to be part of this endeavor and are committed to delivering a total of 14 jets to Slovakia.”
Manufactured in Greenville, South Carolina, the F-16 Block 70/72 jet is the latest iteration of the best-selling fighter aircraft and is currently operated by six nations. Lockheed Martin has a backlog of 135 F-16 Block 70 fighters. Slovakia will become the first European country to operate this standard.
Slovakia retired its fleet of 11 MiG-29s in 2022 and planned to replace them with new Lockheed Martin F-16s ordered for €1.58 billion ($1.8 billion) in 2018.
In March 2023, Slovakia approved the transfer of its retired MiG-29 fleet to Ukraine. In the meantime, an agreement was reached for Poland and Czechia to protect Slovakian airspace until the new aircraft arrived.