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UAE to get first batch of F-16s by late 2004

posted on 09/12/2003: 2164 views

The UAE will receive the first batch of F-16 jet fighters by late 2004 and delivery of the entire 80 aircraft will be completed in 2007, a top official said yesterday. The first of the UAE's F-16s completed a successful flight on Sunday in the US. A number of UAE pilots are being trained in the US to pilot the jets. The UAE signed a US$6.4 billion deal in 2000 with Lockheed Martin for supply of the 80 F-16 aircraft.

Lieutenant General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, visited the Lockheed Martin assembly line in the US in May this year. "Sheikh Mohammed met with pilots and engineers and held productive meetings and was satisfied with the progress," said John L. Bean, Vice President, F-16 Programmes, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.

Bean said the UAE's F-16s are the latest model, different from earlier models in that they incorporate a new generation of avionics, new technology such as fibre channel for faster talk time and more sensitive sensors. The US government is working to establish a common system of capabilities for all F-16s which would permit interoperability of F-16s among the GCC states. Apart from the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have the aircraft and Oman has ordered 12, with deliveries to take place in the last quarter of 2005. (The Gulf News)


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