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Iraq's order of 18 F-16s from Lockheed Martin is official

It's finally official: Iraq is getting F-16s.

On Monday, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin Aeronautics an $835 million contract to supply the Iraqi government with 18 F-16 fighter jets plus equipment, continued logistics and other support.

Iraq had been in talks with the U.S. government and Lockheed about buying F-16s since at least early 2009. The Obama administration approved it more than a year ago.

But as recently as February, Iraq said it was indefinitely postponing the purchase. It reversed course mid-year, and in late September, Iraq agreed to terms with Lockheed and paid the U.S. $1.5 billion for aircraft, engines and related equipment.

Although anticipated for months, it's the first firm F-16 order for Lockheed in well over a year and will help keep its production line in west Fort Worth operating through 2015. Lockheed has also said it expects a follow-up order soon from Oman.

This year, Lockheed was eliminated from a 125-plane competition in India. And the Obama administration has denied the sale of 66 new planes to Taiwan
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About 2,000 workers in Fort Worth build the mid- and forward fuselage for the F-16 and perform final assembly.

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Distributed by MCT Information Services
 

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