The Royal Bahraini Air Force announced at the BIDEC 2017 Exhibit that it will acquire 16 F-16 “Viper” fighters as part of a $3.8bn deal.
The Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) has announced an order for 16 F-16V “Viper” fighters. The announcement was made during the inaugural edition of the Bahrain International Defence Exhibition & Conference (BIDEC 2017).
The RBAF Chief of Staff said that the aircraft would be acquired through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement under a $3.8bn deal. The contract also reportedly includes an option for three additional aircraft. First deliveries are scheduled for 2021.
The news follows a U.S. government green light for the deal, announced in September. That deal included the upgrade of the country's existing fleet of 20 F-16 Block 40 aircraft to the Viper configuration.
The Viper configuration includes Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. Other features of the F-16V, which made its first flight in October 2015, include a new cockpit Center Pedestal Display, a modernized mission computer, a high-capacity Ethernet data bus, and other missions systems enhancements that add significant combat capabilities.
Among other countries to have shown interest in the F-16V, Taiwan started upgrading its 144 ageing F-16 A/Bs to the Viper configuration in January. Greece recently received U.S. approval to upgrade 120 F-16s to the Viper configuration. Indonesia is another target customer.