The F-16 Fighting Falcon was produced by General Dynamics who became Lockheed who then merged with Martin Marietta to become Lockheed Martin. The F-16 entered service in January 1979 as a multi-role jet fighter that evolved into an all-weather multi-role aircraft capable of sustaining 9-g turns. The F-16 is relatively inexpensive to purchase and maintain so the U.S. and 25 other countries added it to their inventory. The Fighting Falcon is referred to by its pilots as the “Viper” and will remain in USAF service until 2025.
The first F-16 for the Iraqi Air Force was delivered in ceremonies at the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth, Texas, on 5 June 2014. This aircraft, a two-seat F-16D Block 52 (Iraqi serial number 1601) is the first of thirty-six F-16s for the reconstituted Iraqi Air Force. The aircraft are being produced under a contract from the US Department of Defense. The F-16s are configured to meet the specific requirements of the Iraqi Air Force. The contract includes mission equipment and a support package provided by Lockheed Martin and other US and international contractors. Iraq is the twenty-seventh nation to operate the F-16. More than 4,540 F-16s have been delivered to date. Production is expected to continue through 2017.