Iraq F-16 Deal Welcome Boost for Lockheed By DAVE MAJUMDAR, defensenews.com, 27 Sep 2011

Iraq has made its first payment for a batch of 18 F-16C Block 52 fighters, the U.S. Defense Department announced on Sept. 27. The action finalizes Iraq's order for the venerable fourth-generation fighter.  The $3 billion contract is being undertaken as a Foreign Military Sales accord between the United States government and Iraq.  "These aircraft will help provide air sovereignty for Iraq to protect its own territory and deter or counter regional threats," said Defense Department spokesman George Little. "They are also a symbol of the commitment to a long-term strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq."  For contractor Lockheed Martin, the Iraqi buy throws the company a lifeline to extend production of the near ubiquitous F-16 to early 2015. Without the Iraqi order, the F-16 production line would have closed in the fall of 2013, said Laura Siebert, a Lockheed Martin spokeswoman.

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