Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a significant reduction in manufacturing time for the F-16, using commercial practices. The first of 12 to be produced for Singapore under a commercial lease agreement has been delivered less than 22 months after contract signature. This compares with the normal lead time of 36-42 months, says the US company.

The unusual nature of the agreement - the aircraft are being provided under long term lease to the Republic of Singapore Air Force to support pilot training in the USA - allowed the manufacturer to buy equipment "-using commercial practices with compressed lead times". These include the radar and other major systems normally supplied as government-furnished equipment, the company says.

The deal was signed in 1996 to replace F-16C/Ds leased from the USAir Force for pilot training. Lockheed Martin says that it was a "challenge" to compress the delivery span, but says that it still delivered the first aircraft ahead of schedule this month.

Reduced delivery times are offered as part of current F-16 sales efforts, but the manufacturer cautions that a 24-month span is not possible when systems development or configuration tailoring is required. Singapore, for example, began taking delivery in April of 18 F-16C/Ds ordered in mid-1994 through normal US foreign military sales channels.

Source: Flight International