FORT WORTH, TX. --- The end of an era is coming as production of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Fighting Falcon is being shifted from west Fort Worth to South Carolina.
Lockheed will begin moving the production line to its facility in Greenville, S.C., at the end of the year after delivering the last of the iconic jets being built for Iraq in September, said Ken Ross, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth.
The F-16 has been a mainstay of Lockheed’s mile-long production line, but the Fort Worth plant needs the room as it ramps up production of the F-35 Lightning II, he said. Currently, 8,800 employees work on the F-35 and about 200 work on the F-16. It is expected that the F-16 employees will be allowed to transition to work on the F-35.
“As part of our effort to make room for the F-35 production here in Fort Worth, the F-16 production line must be relocated,” Ross said.
Over the life of the program, Lockheed has delivered more than 4,500 F-16s, including 3,600 built in Fort Worth. Since the company hasn’t booked any orders for new F-16s beyond the planes for Iraq, it would take about two years to start it back up in South Carolina once a new order is received, Ross said.
Moving production to South Carolina makes sense for several reasons, company officials said. (end of excerpt)
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