FORT WORTH, Texas, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin's F-16V "Viper" took flight for the first time, the company announced on Wednesday.
Lockheed Martin says the F-16V fighter is the most advanced fourth-generation F-16 on the market today. It comes equipped with a new cockpit featuring a modernized mission computer and other enhancements aimed to bolster combat capabilities. During the maiden flight, the jet was fitted with Northrop Grumman's advanced APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Scalable Agile Beam Radar, the first time for an F-16.
Lockheed Martin's F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group vice president and general manager Rod McLean calls the flight a "historic milestone" for the F-16's evolution.
"The new F-16V configuration includes numerous enhancements designed to keep the F-16 at the forefront of international security, strengthening its position as the world's foremost combat-proven 4th Generation fighter aircraft," McLean said in a statement.
Lockheed Martin's F-16 is a multi-role fighter, and can be found in the fleets of 28 customers around the world. In addition to modernized software and radar technology, the F-16 can also be upgraded to hold advanced weapons, Auto Ground Collision Avoidance System, and the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod.