Lockheed Martin has rolled out the first of 10 F-16C/D Block 50 fighters ordered by the Chilean air force.

The completed F-16C is due to fly in June, with flight testing from August to February 2006, says Lockheed Martin Americas president Ron Covais. Six F-16Cs and four F-16Ds are to be delivered to Chile in 2006.

Chile's minister of national def­ence Jaime Ravinet says the fighter order is a key step towards modernising Chile's armed forces, achieving inter­operability with allied forces and other tech­nology benefits provided by an associated offset programme.

But the air force's mounting re-equipment bills have made it unlikely that the government will place a second order of 10-14 new F-16Cs in 2006. Both Chile and the Brazilian air force have enquired recently about buying used F-16s from the Netherlands and Turkey.


Source: Flight International