Lockheed Martin has enough orders to keep producing F-16 fighter jets through the third quarter of 2017, with plans to get additional orders that would enable the company to make F-16s through 2020, at which point customers will opt for the newer F-35 stealth fighter due to a decrease in cost.
Bill McHenry, Lockheed’s head of F-16 business development, said the company is currently focusing on F-16 sales and upgrades in markets like the Middle East and South America.
“We wake up every day and go out and do what we can,” he said. “But there’s a crossover point out there … sometime in the 2020 timeframe, where it’ll make more sense to procure F-35s than F-16s.”
Since the program began in 1975, Lockheed has produced over 4,500 F-16s. The jets are used by 26 countries around the world. Lockheed has produced 100 F-35s thus far.