Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Greenville to host only corporate F-16 sustainment depot in US

Molly Hulsey //December 14, 2020//

Greenville to host only corporate F-16 sustainment depot in US

Molly Hulsey //December 14, 2020//

Listen to this article

F-16 Fighting Falcons make up the largest fleet of aircraft in the airforce. (Photo/Provided)Following the announcement of a $900 million U.S. Air Force contract on Friday, Lockheed Martin’s Greenville facility will become the only corporate F-16 sustainment and support depot in the country.

According to a news release, the depot has the potential to support 2,000 F-16 Fighting Falcon jets used by 25 allied nations. To date, 4,588 F-16 jets are operated around the world.

“We are honored to have been selected for the U.S. Air Force’s F-16 Depot Overflow program,” Mike Fox, site director of Greenville’s Lockheed Martin campus, said in a statement. This is a great win for our team, community and state and positions our Greenville site as the Center of Excellence for F-16, now supporting both F-16 production and F-16 sustainment.”

The 10-year contract is expected to bring additional maintenance and modernization support to Greenville’s 12-dock facility, now used to also manufacture the F-16 Fighting Falcon, according to Lockheed’s Greenville spokesperson, Leslie Farmer.

The idea to locate the depot in Greenville has been in the works for a while now, she said, sourced from the Air Force’s need for an industry facility used to “keep their F-16 fleet operational, increase readiness, simply by providing some additional support and capacity.”

The Greenville depot is a novelty.

“This is kind of a unique situation,” Farmer said. “This is going to be the first kind of non-military depot that is being set up to support F-16 sustainment. There are two other F-16 depots internationally … but that doesn’t affect anything that we’re going to be doing here.”

Most F-16 depots are government-owned and located on Air Force bases. (Photo/Provided)Most F-16 depots are located on military bases, such as the Shaw, Hill and McEntire Air Force and National Guard bases, she said. The two other contract depots are located in Europe and the Pacific, but Greenville’s depot will focus primarily on domestic fleets without much collaboration with its international sister depots.

Starting with Lockheed’s first F-16 order in early March, Farmer said the company expects to have several F-16s in the shop each year due to the terms of the contract. At this point, not much will have to be altered in terms of new construction, but the expansion is expected to bring new careers to the area.

“We’re going to use a lot of what we already have,” she said. “Really, with the F-16 production line being here in Greenville, that has created a lot of opportunity or synergy for this sustainment-type program, where we can utilize different things that we have already implemented on the production side to support sustainment as well.”

Technicians, mechanics and support personnel will be needed once sustainment ramps up, Farmer said, but due to continued negotiation with the federal government over the number of aircraft serviced, the company does not yet know how many new jobs.

The $900 million value is the maximum that the Air Force could potentially put toward the program over the course of 10 years, she said.

The Air Force uses F-16 fighter jets in its largest fleet, where they make up to 45% of the aircraft used, and according to the release, will use the jet as a viable weapon system moving forward.

“We are thrilled the Air Force has chosen Lockheed Martin Greenville for their F-16 Depot Overflow program,” Rep. William Timmons, said in a statement Friday. “Lockheed Martin’s Greenville site will now both produce and maintain F-16s. This 10-year contract is expected to place 15 F-16s at the site each year for substantial maintenance work, adding 50 – 80 new jobs in support of this program. I was proud to support Lockheed Martin’s efforts in securing this contract along with the rest of the South Carolina congressional delegation. We are grateful to the Air Force for awarding this contract today, and we look forward to Greenville becoming the center of excellence for the F-16 Fighting Falcon.