Lockheed Martin says that it plans to "commoditize" its F-16 Viper fighter jet line by offering jets in a single standardized configuration, based on the latest Block 70/72 variant, with a standard base price tag.
The goal here is to streamline things for both the manufacturer and potential customers, especially foreign buyers, and it follows a massive U.S. Air Force-managed contract for the production of Vipers for export over the next decade. FlightGlobal was first to report on Lockheed Martin's new plans for its F-16 product line on Sept. 4, 2020.
The Air Force had awarded the company an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract, valued at up to $62 billion over 10 years, to build at least 90 Block 70/72 Vipers – 66 for Taiwan and 24 for Morocco – for Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers on Aug. 12, 2020.
"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," J.R. McDonald, the Vice President of Business Development for Lockheed Martin's Integrated Fighter Group, told FlightGlobal. “And, it takes a lot of money to develop those individual contracts for each individual country.”
"It’s a way to streamline contracting, make the pricing as transparent as possible in an [Foreign Military Sales] environment," he continued, referring to the new plane for a standardized base F-16. “Everybody knows what the baseline is.” (end of excerpt)