Lockheed Martin Delivers 3,035th F-16 From Fort Worth Plant

Mar 30, 1999, 00:00 ET from Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems

    FORT WORTH, Texas, March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin Tactical
 Aircraft Systems delivered the 3,035th F-16 from Air Force Plant No. 4 located
 in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 26.
     This makes the F-16 the largest production program in the plant's history,
 surpassing the B-24.  The F-16 was already the longest-running program,
 considering that deliveries of the first version began in the late 1970s.
     A total of 3,034 B-24 bombers (including 286 C-87 cargo versions and five
 AT-22 navigator training versions) were delivered from the Fort Worth
 production line during a 33-month span from April 1942 through December 1944.
 B-24s also were assembled in plants in San Diego, Calif., Willow Run, Mich.,
 Tulsa, Okla., and Dallas, Texas.  Over 19,000 B-24s and variants were produced
 during World War II.
     Peak monthly deliveries of the four-engine aircraft at Fort Worth occurred
 in January 1944 with 230 aircraft.  Peak employment at the plant during the
 war numbered over 30,000 employees, which included many women on the assembly
 line.  Production was around the clock in three shifts and a standard six-day
 work week.
     In comparison to the wartime surge production of the B-24, the peak
 delivery month for F-16s from the Fort Worth plant was October 1981 with
 33 aircraft, and the peak year was 1987 when 284 F-16s were delivered.  These
 rates are high by modern standards.  Since its beginning, F-16 production
 rates have been the highest in the world for military aircraft outside Russia.
 F-16s are currently produced at lower rates, and the outlook is good for
 deliveries to continue at moderate rates for another 10-12 years.
     Air Force Plant No. 4 is a government-owned, company-operated facility
 constructed in 1941-42.  The facility has more than 7 million square feet of
 floor space, which includes a mile-long fabrication and assembly building and
 many state-of-the-art laboratories for development and test.  The parent
 company name has changed several times starting with Consolidated, followed by
 Consolidated Vultee (in 1943), Convair (1947), General Dynamics (1953),
 Lockheed (1993) and Lockheed Martin (1995).  The plant has a heritage of
 employing the latest technologies in both design and production of advanced,
 highly capable military aircraft.
     Since the B-24, the plant has built the B-32, B-36, B-58, F-111 and now,
 the F-16.  The plant also is currently building major portions of the F-22 for
 the U.S. Air Force and the F-2 for Japan.  These three programs are expected
 to sustain the plant until introduction of the Joint Strike Fighter in the
 later half of the next decade.
     The 3,035th F-16 delivered from the Fort Worth line is a Block 50 F-16C
 for the U.S. Air Force.  It is the 2,202nd F-16 delivered to USAF, 243 of
 which are the latest Block 50/52 version.
     Dain Hancock, president of Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems,
 said, "It is fitting that this 3,035th F-16 is a U.S. aircraft.  This
 symbolizes the long and successful partnership we have had in producing
 world-class military aircraft for the defense of America, and we look forward
 to continuing this partnership for several decades in the next century through
 the Joint Strike Fighter program.
     "Just as the B-24 helped win the war in Europe, products of this facility
 enabled America and its allies to win the long-running Cold War, and are
 playing a vital part today in peacekeeping operations in several regions."
     Worldwide, this milestone F-16 is the 3900th delivered.  F-16s have been
 built on assembly lines in four other locations -- Belgium, Netherlands,
 Turkey and Korea -- with the latter two still performing final aircraft
 assembly.  Currently, F-16s are in various stages of production for USAF,
 Taiwan, Egypt, Singapore, Bahrain, Turkey and Korea.
     The F-16 is the world's most sought-after fighter.  Nineteen countries
 currently operate the F-16, and the versatile multirole fighter has been
 selected by several others.  USAF recently announced its intentions to buy
 30 additional F-16s over the next several years, and additional international
 sales of the F-16 are pending.  Major upgrades for all F-16 versions are
 either being incorporated, or are under development, to keep the fleet modern
 and fully supportable well into the next century.
     For more information about Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems and
 its products, visit the following website:

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