Three Mideast countries may buy F-16s

July 14, 2011 at 4:45 PM
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FORT WORTH, Texas, July 14 (UPI) -- Three Middle Eastern countries are considering placing orders with U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed-Martin for F-16 fighter jets, company officials confirmed.

Iraq, Oman and the United Arab Emirates reportedly have expressed interest in talking to the U.S. government and Lockheed about F-16s, built in Fort Worth, Texas, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Wednesday.

Lockheed officials confirmed they had been in contact with the three Middle East nations about F-16 sales, but declined to provide specifics.

"The potential for international sales is still strong," Lockheed spokeswoman Laura Siebert told the newspaper. "We've been in constant dialogue with the U.S. Air Force about the needs of Iraq. There has been dialogue with U.A.E. They want more F-16s."

At the end of May, Lockheed had 62 unfilled F-16 orders, which officials said were enough to keep the final assembly line open through mid-2013. Production of many parts and components often starts at least two years before final assembly.

The Star-Telegram said Lockheed employs about 2,000 workers in Fort Worth on the F-16 program.

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