Lockheed Martin unveiled the first F-16 Block 70 fighter for Slovakia. The ceremony took place at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Greenville, South Carolina, in the presence of Slovakia’s Minister of Defence, Martin Sklenár.
Slovakia is set to become the first European nation to receive the latest version of the renowned F-16 Fighting Falcon.
“These F-16s will enable the Slovak Air Force to stay ahead of threats in the region and be part of the allied mission in Europe, NATO, and around the world,” emphasized OJ Sanchez, the Vice President of the Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed Martin. “This jet represents the strong partnership between Lockheed Martin, the United States, the Slovak Republic, and our allies.”
This delivery marks the first of a total of 14 F-16 Block 70 jets scheduled to be provided to the Slovak Republic.
The latest iteration of the F-16, designated as the F-16 Block 70/72 and commonly referred to as the F-16V (nicknamed Viper), incorporates several enhancements. These include the advanced Northrop-Grumman AESA AN/APG-83 SABR radar, an upgraded powerplant with either the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 or General Electric F110-GE-129 engine for improved performance, a state-of-the-art mission computer, and a fully integrated cockpit featuring an all-screen interface compatible with night vision goggles, among various other modernization features.
The F-16 will replace the Soviet-made MiG-29s previously operated by the Slovak Air Force and donated to the Ukrainian Air Force in March 2023.