A US government defence engineering contractor, Amentum, announced that it has won an $818m contract on 2 August to sustain and modernise the US Navy’s F-16 Viper ‘adversary squadron’.

Earmarked the ‘Contractor Logistics Support’ (CLS) contract, Amentum will provide technical, sustainment and logistics solutions for the navy’s F-16 aircraft based at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada.

“Navy F-16 Vipers play a vital role as the aggressor in fighter combat training, and our work securing Viper modernization is key to the Navy and Marine Corps fighter squadron’s combat readiness,” Dr. Karl Spinnenweber, President of the Critical Missions Group, stated.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is one of the world’s most prolific fighter aircraft; it has been in service since 1979. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM), Lockheed Martin, has delivered approximately 4,600 F-16s to over 25 countries.

US Navy Viper fleet

The US Navy has used the F-16 naval variant – the ‘Viper’ – since 2002. This ‘Viper fleet’ serves an “aggressor-training role with simulation capability of current threat aircraft in fighter combat mode.”

Under CLS, Amentum will maintain F-16 A/B/C/D aircraft and provide full system maintenance and supply chain support to ensure continuous flight operations. During the contract period, Amentum will help the Navy to grow their F-16 Adversary fleet across all sites.

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“Our F-16 Adversary CLS work combined with our similar support of the Navy and Marine Corp’s F-5 Adversary programme positions Amentum as the premier partner to the Department of the Navy for their organic Adversary services across the fleet,” said Joe Kelly, SVP of Sustainment, Analytics and Aviation Solutions. “Amentum is committed to the mission of the Navy’s top weapons schools to sustain operational combat readiness and defeat peer competitors.”

F-16 aircraft will grow across the US Armed Forces in the future, as Lockheed Martin suggests that the F-16s leverage structural and capability upgrades that “ensure the international F-16 fleet can operate to 2060 and beyond.”

GlobalData forecasts global spending on F-16 A/B variants to grow from $87m to $115m between 2023 and 2025; the F-16 C/D will grow from $626m to $1.9bn between 2023 and 2026; while the F-16 Viper will increase from $952m to $2.4bn between 2023 and 2026.