Does the F-16 belong here nowadays? It’s no longer a top-tier new build for the USAF, certainly, and may impact second tier sales significantly per below. https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 55.article
Fair use excerpt (it’s a very long piece, free with login, I read it on twitter):
As part of an indefinite-delivery and indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) fixed-price-incentive contract, which has a $62 billion ceiling and was granted by the US Air Force (USAF) in August, the company plans to offer standardised examples of its new-build F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft.
The traditional process of pricing and customising the F-16 for foreign buyers was cumbersome, says JR McDonald, vice-president of business development in Lockheed’s integrated fighter group.
“The development of the pricing, and the back and forth with the country on the pricing, and then the actual pricing when we deliver it to them in the form of an offer and acceptance letter, that takes a very long time,” he says. “And, it takes a lot of money to develop those individual contracts for each individual country.”
Now, the US government’s Foreign Military Sales process will start with a base model of F-16 that comes with a standardised price and a standard set of features, including avionics, mission systems, an active electronically scanned array radar, electronic warfare suite, Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System and an engine, among other typical items. The standardised items in the contract are at the lowest possible price, adds McDonald.
The idea for a standardised F-16 pricing list came from the USAF’s System Program Office. Lockheed believes all international sales of the fighter will now go through the IDIQ contract and the Foreign Military Sales process, with the exception of the potential F-21 variant the company is proposing for the Indian air force’s 110-unit fighter programme.
The USAF and Lockheed believe that by using the same contract over and over again, instead of writing new contracts for each customer, time will be saved in the sales process of the fighter.
“It’s a way to streamline contracting, make the pricing as transparent as possible in an [Foreign Military Sales] environment,” says McDonald. “Everybody knows what the baseline is.”
The process should also save time and money on the production line as customisations typically slow work, he adds. Lockheed builds the F-16 at its Greenville, South Carolina facility, which started producing the fighter in 2019 after final assembly was moved from Fort Worth, Texas.
Should a customer want a particular item, say a different head-up display, that request would be fulfilled via a separate contract, while the rest of the base model fighter would be configured with the standard IDIQ contract. Speciality technologies to be incorporated into the F-16 as part of an offset agreement with a foreign nation would be handled via a separate contract also.
The USAF plans three pricing periods over 10 years for the base model F-16. The initial pricing period will be relatively short. Lockheed is already in negotiations with the US government for the second period, which will last two or three years. The third will span the remainder of the contract.
Lockheed has already secured two contracts via the IDIQ totalling 90 aircraft: 66 examples of the F-16 for Taiwan and 24 for Morocco.
I’m not clear if the standardized block 70/72 models will include GE or PW engines.
This Lockheed Martin pitch at the end I found particularly interesting as a marketing ploy;
McDonald says, for some nations, the F-16 could serve as a stepping stone to the Lockheed F-35 stealth fighter – sales of which are tightly controlled by the Pentagon and permitted only to the USA’s allies and most-trusted partners.
“Not every country in the world is ready today for an F-35. And, that can be either because they from a policy perspective haven’t become that level of partner with the United States yet, or maybe just the maturity of their military: it’s hard to jump from a MiG-21 directly into an F-35,” he says. “An F-16 is the perfect pathway to F-35. You gain that familiarity with the United States, you become a reliable partner with the United States and then the next step into the F-35 is not such a stretch.”