Slovakia’s first Lockheed Martin F-16 has been unveiled, as the nation moves closer to fielding the type as a replacement for its already-retired RAC MiG-29s.
Revealed at Lockheed’s Greenville production site in South Carolina on 7 September in the presence of officials including Slovakian defence minister Martin Sklenar, the single-seat fighter bears the service registration 1001.
Bratislava will follow fellow customer Bahrain in introducing the new F-16 model, with its commitment totalling 14 jets: 12 fighters and a pair of twin-seat trainers.
Slovakia removed its last MiG-29s from service in March 2023, donating 13 of the surplus fighters to Ukraine.
“These F-16s will enable the Slovak air force to stay ahead of threats in the region, and be part of the allied mission in Europe, NATO and around the world,” says OJ Sanchez, Lockheed’s vice-president, Integrated Fighter Group.
In addition to its orders from Bahrain and Slovakia, Lockheed also is on contract to produce the Block 70/72 fighter for Bulgaria, Morocco and Taiwan.