Lockheed Martin has decided to move the F-16 production line from Forth Worth, to Greenville, South Carolina at the end of the year
Brought to my attention by Earl Belz and Tim Murphy, two readers of The Aviation Geek Club, the interesting photo in this post shows an Iraqi Air Force F-16 which actually is the last Viper ever to be produced at Fort Worth.
As we have explained in fact, Lockheed Martin has decided to move the F-16 production line from Forth Worth, to Greenville, South Carolina at the end of the year.
Company spokesman Ken Ross said this will free up more space for the F-35 line.
Actually even if the Viper has been a mainstay of Lockheed Martin’s mile-long production line, the Fort Worth plant needs more room as the F-35 Lightning II production ramps up, he explained. Currently, 8,800 employees work on the F-35 and about 200 work on the F-16, with the latter who are expected to transition to work on the F-35.
“As part of our effort to make room for the F-35 production here in Fort Worth, the F-16 production line must be relocated,” Ross said.
Until now more than 4,500 F-16s have been delivered, of which 3,600 have been built in Fort Worth. As Ross explained, since the company hasn’t booked any orders for new F-16s beyond those for Iraq, it would take about two years to start it back up in South Carolina once a new order is received.
However the most important reason for migrating the F-16 production line to South Carolina is that Lockheed Martin expects to hire an additional 1,800 employees through 2020 as work on the F-35 stealth fighter hits full production.
In fact the company built about 50 F-35s in 2016 and expects to build up to 160 a year by 2019.
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com