Lockheed Martin is close to delivering its first F-16 fighter to Morocco, with the aircraft having recently entered flight testing in the USA.
Flown from Lockheed's Fort Worth site in Texas already sporting its Moroccan markings and carrying the registration 80001, the aircraft is the first of 18 single-seat Block 52 F-16Cs on order for the nation's air force. It also will receive six D-model trainers under a contract signed in December 2009.
Both images © Lockheed Martin
Morocco's F-16s will be powered by Pratt & Whitney F100-229 turbofan engines. The nation has requested a possible $50 million purchase of Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles to equip the type, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced in mid-May. It also has previously sought to purchase AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles and Paveway II precision-guided bomb kits from the same supplier.
The Royal Moroccan Air Force is also in the process of fielding 24 T-6C basic trainers from Hawker Beechcraft. The company announced in May that it has already reached the half-way point in handing over the aircraft.