Manama: The Kingdom of Bahrain, represented by the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) of the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF), has been handed over the first “F-16 Block 70” fighter jet, which is one of the latest combat aircraft produced by the global security and aerospace company, Lockheed Martin .
The kingdom has officially become the first country in the region and the world to have received such a highly-equipped and advanced combat aircraft, which will join other RBAF’s jets.
The move embodies the wise visions and sound directives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, within the ongoing modernisation and development of the BDF, and the permanent and continuous support of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Prime Minister.
On the occasion, BDF Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, affirmed that thanks to the wise visions and directives of HM the King, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and the unwavering care of HRH the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Prime Minister, the RBAF has become one of the main pillars of the nation’s strength, as all its squadrons and systems have achieved progress, development, and integration at various levels, adding that all RBAF’s competent and experienced personnel, including pilots, engineers, technicians, and trainers, have achieved the highest levels of professionalism in various air operations, and set the best examples of devotion and sacrifice in order to defend the homeland and protect its gains and civilisational achievements.
He added that thanks to its continuous development, RBAF now boasts an integrated and advanced military system according to the latest strategies.
The BDF chief indicated that the Royal Bahraini Air Force today includes the latest advanced combat aircraft, modern air transport aircraft, and advanced helicopters, noting that the introduction of F-16 Block 70, which is characterised by its advanced security and combat capabilities, is an important qualitative addition to the RBAF.
He added that F-16 Block 70 is needed in the arsenal of the air forces in the world due to the current circumstances requiring contemporary air armament to meet the challenges of the current century.
RBAF Commander, Air Vice-Marshal Shaikh Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, and his accompanying delegation, attended the handover ceremony of F-16 Block 70 aircraft at the Lockheed Martin Company’s factory in Greenville, South Carolina, held on Friday, March 10.
Defence Attaché at the Bahraini Embassy in Washington, Commodore Jassim Abdulla Al-Jowdar, and a number of senior BDF officers were also present.