The U.S. Air Force has agreed to extend the flight hour limit for Lockheed Martin-built F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from 8,000 hours to 12,000 hours.
Lockheed said Wednesday the Air Force could operate Block 40-52 F-16 planes through 2048 and beyond following structural modifications under the F-16 Service Life Extension Program.
SLEP aims to lengthen the service life of up to 300 F-16C/D Block 40-52 platforms in a push to augment the Air Force’s fighter aircraft structure.
The second phase of SLEP seeks to achieve further extensions to F-16’s operational life based on a final service life analysis from extended durability tests.
F-16 fighter jets have supported 28 customers worldwide and the aircraft’s latest F-16V configuration is designed to feature an Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, a commercial off-the-shelf-based avionics subsystem, a high-resolution display and a high-speed data bus.