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: http://www.TheFighterEnterprise.com.
SOURCE Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems