April 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force will extend the service life of its F-16 fighter jet to 12,000 Equivalent Flight Hours, much more than the aircraft's original service life of 8,000 hours.
Validation of the extended flight hour limit will help extend the service life of up to 300 F-16C/D Block 40-52 aircraft, Lockheed Martin Corp, which makes the F-16, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Following the extension, the U.S. Air Force could safely operate Block 40-52 aircraft to 2048 and beyond.
The F-16 service extension comes as the U.S. looks to save costs on its key weapons program, including the F-35 fighter jet. (Reporting by Rachit Vats in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)