Lockheed Martin has begun deliveries of newly developed F-16 Block 70 combat aircraft, which the company claims will result in additional orders from existing customers because the new variant will provide fourth-generation aircraft with fifth-generation capabilities, keeping the air force current.

Lockheed Martin, which has pitched its F-21, a baseline F-16V, to India for its tender for 114 jets to be manufactured locally in India if Lockheed’s bid is approved, claims that the Indian F-21 fleet can operate until 2060 and beyond as new deliveries to other customers are a test of its commitment to keep the fleet ready for the next 40 years.

Lockheed Martin claims that the company currently has a backlog of 127 jets to be built in Greenville, with the order backlog expected to increase to 147 soon. Lockheed Martin has offered to relocate its production line to India and become the sole manufacturer of the fourth jet if India agrees to purchase 114 jets.

F-21 has been offered to India with Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 AESA radar that delivers greater situational awareness, flexibility and quicker all-weather targeting and provides pilots with target area detail and digital map displays that can be tailored with slew and zoom features.