Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney have received their first contracts to begin production activities linked to Morocco's recently approved purchase of 24 F-16C/D Block 52 multirole fighters via the US government's Foreign Military Sales mechanism.

The Royal Moroccan Air Force is to receive a tailored version of the F-16 to support its modernisation efforts, says Lockheed, which on 6 June received an initial contract worth almost $234 million to launch production of the aircraft.

Announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency last December in a notification document to Congress, the F-16 deal has a potential value of $2.4 billion, including air-launched weapons, reconnaissance equipment and support services.

The new F-16s will be powered by P&W F100-229 engines, with the company saying its part of the contract values around $170 million, with deliveries to take place during 2010-11.

F-16 ARS

Lockheed - which has now delivered more than 4,400 F-16s - says the latest order will safeguard its Fort Worth, Texas production line for the type beyond 2012.

The DSCA also last December announced a related $200 million request to supply Morocco with 24 Beechcraft T-6B Texan II trainers.

Source: Flight International