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F-16 Fighting Falcon

F-16 Fighting Falcon

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The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole
Multirole combat aircraft
A multirole combat aircraft is an aircraft designed to act in at least two different roles in combat. The primary role is usually a fighter—hence, it is as often called a multirole fighter—while the secondary role is usually air-to-surface attack. More roles are added, such as air reconnaissance,...

 jet
Jet aircraft
A jet aircraft is an aircraft propelled by jet engines. Jet aircraft generally fly much faster than propeller-powered aircraft and at higher altitudes – as high as . At these altitudes, jet engines achieve maximum efficiency over long distances. The engines in propeller-powered aircraft...

 fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 originally developed by General Dynamics
General Dynamics
General Dynamics Corporation is a U.S. defense conglomerate formed by mergers and divestitures, and as of 2008 it is the fifth largest defense contractor in the world. Its headquarters are in West Falls Church , unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, in the Falls Church area.The company has...

 for the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 (USAF). Designed as an air superiority day fighter
Day fighter
A day fighter is a fighter aircraft equipped only to fight during the day. More specifically, it refers to a multi-purpose aircraft that does not include equipment for fighting at night , although it is sometimes used to refer to some interceptors as well.Examples of planes that were classified as...

, it evolved into a successful all-weather
Night fighter
A night fighter is a fighter aircraft adapted for use at night or in other times of bad visibility...

 multirole aircraft
Multirole combat aircraft
A multirole combat aircraft is an aircraft designed to act in at least two different roles in combat. The primary role is usually a fighter—hence, it is as often called a multirole fighter—while the secondary role is usually air-to-surface attack. More roles are added, such as air reconnaissance,...

. Over 4,400 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976. Although no longer being purchased by the U.S. Air Force, improved versions are still being built for export customers. In 1993, General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation
Lockheed Corporation
The Lockheed Corporation was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1912 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995.-Origins:...

, which in turn became part of Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

 after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta
Martin Marietta
Martin Marietta Corporation was an American company founded in 1961 through the merger of The Martin Company and American-Marietta Corporation. The combined company became a leader in chemicals, aerospace, and electronics. In 1995, it merged with Lockheed Corporation to form Lockheed Martin. The...

.

The Fighting Falcon is a dogfight
Dogfight
A dogfight, or dog fight, is a form of aerial combat between fighter aircraft; in particular, combat of maneuver at short range, where each side is aware of the other's presence. Dogfighting first appeared during World War I, shortly after the invention of the airplane...

er with numerous innovations including a frameless bubble canopy
Bubble canopy
A bubble canopy is a canopy made like a soap bubble, which attempts to provide 360° vision to the pilot.-History:Bubble canopies have been in use since World War II. The British had already developed the "Malcolm hood", which was a bulged canopy, but the British Miles M.20 was one of the first...

 for better visibility, side-mounted control stick
Side-stick
A side-stick or sidestick controller is an aircraft control column that is located on the side console of the pilot, usually on the righthand side, or outboard on a two-seat flightdeck...

 to ease control while maneuvering, a seat reclined 30 degrees to reduce the effect of g-force
G-force
The g-force associated with an object is its acceleration relative to free-fall. This acceleration experienced by an object is due to the vector sum of non-gravitational forces acting on an object free to move. The accelerations that are not produced by gravity are termed proper accelerations, and...

s on the pilot, and the first use of a relaxed static stability
Relaxed stability
In aviation, relaxed stability is the tendency of an aircraft to change its attitude and angle of bank of its own accord. An aircraft with relaxed stability will oscillate in simple harmonic motion around a particular attitude at an increasing amplitude....

/fly-by-wire
Fly-by-wire
Fly-by-wire is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface. The movements of flight controls are converted to electronic signals transmitted by wires , and flight control computers determine how to move the actuators at each control...

 flight control system that makes it a highly nimble aircraft. The F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcan
M61 Vulcan
The M61 Vulcan is a hydraulically or pneumatically driven, six-barreled, air-cooled, electrically fired Gatling-style rotary cannon which fires 20 mm rounds at an extremely high rate. The M61 and its derivatives have been the principal cannon armament of United States military fixed-wing aircraft...

 cannon and has 11 hardpoint
Hardpoint
A hardpoint, or weapon station, is any part of an airframe designed to carry an external load. This includes a point on the wing or fuselage of military aircraft where external ordnance, countermeasures, gun pods, targeting pods or drop tanks can be mounted.-Rail launchers:Large missiles and...

s for mounting weapons, and other mission equipment. Although the F-16's official name is "Fighting Falcon", it is known to its pilots as the "Viper", due to it resembling a viper snake and after the Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica is an American science fiction franchise created by Glen A. Larson. The franchise began with the Battlestar Galactica TV series in 1978, and was followed by a brief sequel TV series in 1980, a line of book adaptations, original novels, comic books, a board game, and video games...

Colonial Viper
Colonial Viper
The Colonial Viper is the primary fighter spacecraft type used by the human protagonists in the Battlestar Galactica fictional universe. Appearing in both the 1978 original series and the 2003 reimagined series, as well as various derivative works, the single-pilot spacecraft are carried aboard...

 starfighter
Starfighter
"Starfighter" is a science fiction term used to describe small, fast, usually one-manned craft designed for armed combat .The appearance and use of fictional starfighters is often modeled on fighter aircraft, with little regard for the actual physics of spaceflight...

.

In addition to active duty US Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command
Air Force Reserve Command
The Air Force Reserve Command is a major command of the U.S. Air Force with its headquarters at Robins AFB, Georgia.It stood up as a major command of the Air Force on 17 February 1997....

, and Air National Guard
Air National Guard
The Air National Guard , often referred to as the Air Guard, is the air force militia organized by each of the fifty U.S. states, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia of the United States. Established under Title 10 and...

 units, the aircraft is also used by the USAF aerial demonstration team, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds are the air demonstration squadron of the U.S. Air Force , based at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada. The squadron tours the United States and much of the world, performing aerobatic formation and solo flying in specially marked USAF jet aircraft...

, and as an adversary/aggressor aircraft by the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

. The F-16 has also been procured to serve in the air forces of 25 other nations.

Lightweight Fighter Program


Experience in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 revealed the need for air superiority
Air supremacy
Air supremacy is the complete dominance of the air power of one side's air forces over the other side's, during a military campaign. It is the most favorable state of control of the air...

 fighters and better air-to-air training for fighter pilots. Based on his experiences in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 and as a fighter tactics instructor in the early 1960s Colonel John Boyd
John Boyd (military strategist)
Colonel John Boyd was a United States Air Force fighter pilot and Pentagon consultant of the late 20th century, whose theories have been highly influential in the military, sports, and business.-Biography:...

 with mathematician Thomas Christie developed the Energy-Maneuverability theory
Energy-Maneuverability theory
Energy Maneuverability theory is a model of aircraft performance. It was promulgated by Col. John Boyd, and is useful in describing an aircraft's performance as the total of kinetic and potential energies or aircraft specific energy. It relates the thrust, weight, drag, wing area, and other flight...

 to model a fighter aircraft's performance in combat. Boyd's work called for a small, lightweight aircraft that could maneuver with the minimum possible energy loss, and which also incorporated an increased thrust-to-weight ratio
Thrust-to-weight ratio
Thrust-to-weight ratio is a ratio of thrust to weight of a rocket, jet engine, propeller engine, or a vehicle propelled by such an engine. It is a dimensionless quantity and is an indicator of the performance of the engine or vehicle....

. In the late 1960s, Boyd gathered a group of like-minded innovators that became known as the Fighter Mafia
Fighter mafia
The Fighter Mafia was a group of U.S. Air Force officers and civilian defense analysts who, in the 1970s, advocated the use of John Boyd's Energy-Maneuverability theory to develop fighter aircraft...

and in 1969 they secured DoD funding for General Dynamics and Northrop to study design concepts based on the theory.

Air Force F-X proponents remained hostile to the concept because they perceived it as a threat to the F-15 program. However, the Advanced Day Fighter concept, renamed F-XX gained civilian political support under the reform-minded Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard
David Packard
David Packard was a co-founder of Hewlett-Packard , serving as president , CEO , and Chairman of the Board . He served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1969–1971 during the Nixon administration...

, who favored the idea of competitive prototyping
Prototype
A prototype is an early sample or model built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from.The word prototype derives from the Greek πρωτότυπον , "primitive form", neutral of πρωτότυπος , "original, primitive", from πρῶτος , "first" and τύπος ,...

. As a result in May 1971, the Air Force Prototype Study Group was established, with Boyd a key member, and two of its six proposals would be funded, one being the Lightweight Fighter (LWF). The Request for Proposal
Request for Proposal
A request for proposal is issued at an early stage in a procurement process, where an invitation is presented for suppliers, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. The RFP process brings structure to the procurement decision and is meant to...

s issued on 6 January 1972 called for a 20000 pounds (9,071.8 kg) class air-to-air day fighter with a good turn rate, acceleration and range, and optimized for combat at speeds of Mach 0.6–1.6 and altitudes of 30000 –. This was the region where USAF studies predicted most future air combat would occur. The anticipated average flyaway cost of a production version was $3 million. This production plan, though, was only notional as the USAF had no firm plans to procure the winner.

Finalists selected and flyoff



Five companies responded and in 1972, the Air Staff selected General Dynamics' Model 401 and Northrop's P-600 for the follow-on prototype development and testing phase. GD and Northrop were awarded contracts worth $37.9 million and $39.8 million to produce the YF-16 and YF-17, respectively, with first flights of both prototypes planned for early 1974. To overcome resistance in the Air Force hierarchy, the Fighter Mafia and other LWF proponents successfully advocated the idea of complementary fighters in a high-cost/low-cost force mix. The "high/low mix" would allow the USAF to be able to afford sufficient fighters for its overall fighter force structure requirements. The mix gained broad acceptance by the time of the prototypes' flyoff, defining the relationship of the LWF and the F-15.

The YF-16 was developed by a team of General Dynamics engineers led by Robert H. Widmer. The first YF-16 was rolled out on 13 December 1973, and its 90-minute maiden flight
Maiden flight
The maiden flight of an aircraft is the first occasion on which an aircraft leaves the ground of its own accord. This is similar to a ship's maiden voyage....

 was made at the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards AFB, California, on 2 February 1974. Its actual first flight occurred accidentally during a high-speed taxi test on 20 January 1974. While gathering speed, a roll-control oscillation caused a fin of the port-side wingtip-mounted missile and then the starboard stabilator
Stabilator
A stabilator is an aircraft control surface that combines the functions of an elevator and a horizontal stabilizer...

 to scrape the ground, and the aircraft then began to veer off the runway. The GD test pilot, Phil Oestricher, decided to lift off to avoid crashing the machine, and safely landed it six minutes later. The slight damage was quickly repaired and the official first flight occurred on time. The YF-16's first supersonic flight was accomplished on 5 February 1974, and the second YF-16 prototype first flew on 9 May 1974. This was followed by the first flights of the Northrop's YF-17 prototypes on 9 June and 21 August 1974, respectively. During the flyoff, the YF-16s completed 330 sorties for a total of 417 flight hours; the YF-17s flew 288 sorties, covering 345 hours.

Air Combat Fighter competition


Increased interest would turn the LWF into a serious acquisition program. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway were seeking to replace their F-104G fighter-bomber
Fighter-bomber
A fighter-bomber is a fixed-wing aircraft with an intended primary role of light tactical bombing and also incorporating certain performance characteristics of a fighter aircraft. This term, although still used, has less significance since the introduction of rockets and guided missiles into aerial...

s. In early 1974, they reached an agreement with the U.S. that if the USAF ordered the LWF winner, they would consider ordering it as well. The USAF also needed to replace its F-105 and F-4 fighter-bombers. The U.S. Congress sought greater commonality in fighter procurements by the Air Force and Navy, and in August 1974 redirected Navy funds to a new Navy Air Combat Fighter (NACF) program that would be a navalized fighter-bomber variant of the LWF. The four NATO allies had formed the "Multinational Fighter Program Group" (MFPG) and pressed for a U.S. decision by December 1974; thus the USAF accelerated testing.
To reflect this more serious intent to procure a new fighter-bomber design, the LWF program was rolled into a new Air Combat Fighter (ACF) competition in an announcement by U.S. Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 James R. Schlesinger
James R. Schlesinger
Dr. James Rodney Schlesinger is an American politician. He is best known for serving as Secretary of Defense from 1973 to 1975 under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

 in April 1974. Schlesinger also made it clear that any ACF order would be for aircraft in addition to the F-15, which extinguished opposition to the LWF. ACF also raised the stakes for GD and Northrop because it brought in competitors intent on securing what was touted at the time as "the arms deal of the century". These were Dassault-Breguet's
Dassault Aviation
Dassault Aviation is a French aircraft manufacturer of military, regional and business jets, a subsidiary of Dassault Group.It was founded in 1930 by Marcel Bloch as Société des Avions Marcel Bloch or "MB". After World War II, Marcel Bloch changed his name to Marcel Dassault, and the name of the...

 proposed Mirage F1M-53
Dassault Mirage F1
The Dassault Mirage F1 is a French air-superiority fighter and attack aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation as a successor of the Mirage III family. The Mirage F1 entered service in the French Air Force in the early seventies...

, the SEPECAT Jaguar
SEPECAT Jaguar
The SEPECAT Jaguar is an Anglo-French jet ground attack aircraft, originally used by the British Royal Air Force and the French Armée de l'Air in the close air support and nuclear strike role, and still in service with several export customers, notably the Indian Air Force and the Royal Air Force...

, and the proposed Saab 37E "Eurofighter". Northrop offered the P-530 Cobra, which was similar to the YF-17. The Jaguar and Cobra were dropped by the MFPG early on, leaving two European and the two U.S. candidates. On 11 September 1974, the U.S. Air Force confirmed plans to place an order for the winning ACF design to equip five tactical fighter wings. Though computer modeling predicted a close contest, the YF-16 proved significantly quicker going from one maneuver to the next, and was the unanimous choice of those pilots that flew both aircraft. On 13 January 1975, Secretary of the Air Force John L. McLucas
John L. McLucas
John Luther McLucas was United States Secretary of the Air Force from 1973 to 1975, becoming Secretary of the Air Force on July 19, 1973. He had been Acting Secretary of the Air Force since May 15, 1973, and Under Secretary of the Air Force since March 1969...

 announced the YF-16 as the winner of the ACF competition.

The chief reasons given by the Secretary were the YF-16's lower operating costs, greater range and maneuver performance that was "significantly better" than that of the YF-17, especially at supersonic speeds. Another advantage of the YF-16 – unlike the YF-17 – used the Pratt & Whitney F100
Pratt & Whitney F100
-External links:* * *...

 turbofan engine, the same powerplant
Aircraft engine
An aircraft engine is the component of the propulsion system for an aircraft that generates mechanical power. Aircraft engines are almost always either lightweight piston engines or gas turbines...

 used by the F-15; such commonality would lower the cost of engines for both programs. Secretary McLucas announced that the USAF planned to order at least 650, possibly up to 1,400 production F-16s. In the Navy Air Combat Fighter (NACF) competition, on 2 May 1975 the Navy selected the YF-17 as the basis for what would become the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet.

Into production


The U.S. Air Force initially ordered 15 "Full-Scale Development" (FSD) aircraft (11 single-seat and four two-seat models) for its flight test program, but this was reduced to eight (six F-16A single-seaters and two F-16B two-seaters). The YF-16 design was altered for the production F-16. The fuselage was lengthened by 10.6 in (0.26924 m), a larger nose radome was fitted for the AN/APG-66
AN/APG-66
The AN/APG-66 radar is a solid state medium range Pulse-doppler radar designed by Westinghouse for use in the F-16 Fighting Falcon and in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's C-550 Cessna Citation, US Navy P-3 Orion, and Piper PA-42 Cheyenne II's as well as the Small Aerostat Surveillance...

 radar, wing area was increased from 280 sq ft (26 m²) to 300 sq ft (27.9 m²), the tailfin height was decreased, the ventral fins were enlarged, two more stores stations were added, and a single door replaced the original nosewheel double doors. The F-16's weight was increased by 25% over the YF-16 by these modifications.

The FSD F-16s were manufactured at General Dynamics' Fort Worth
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

, Texas plant in late 1975; the first F-16A rolled out on 20 October 1976 and first flew on 8 December. The initial two-seat model achieved its first flight on 8 August 1977. The initial production-standard F-16A flew for the first time on 7 August 1978 and its delivery was accepted by the USAF on 6 January 1979. The F-16 was given its formal nickname of "Fighting Falcon" on 21 July 1980, entering USAF operational service with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hill AFB on 1 October 1980.

On 7 June 1975, the four European partners, now known as the European Participation Group, signed up for 348 aircraft at the Paris Air Show
Paris Air Show
The Paris Air Show is the world's oldest and largest air show. Established in 1909, it is currently held every odd year at Le Bourget Airport in north Paris, France...

. This was split among the European Participation Air Forces (EPAF) as 116 for Belgium, 58 for Denmark, 102 for the Netherlands, and 72 for Norway. There would be two European production lines, one in the Netherlands at Fokker's
Fokker
Fokker was a Dutch aircraft manufacturer named after its founder, Anthony Fokker. The company operated under several different names, starting out in 1912 in Schwerin, Germany, moving to the Netherlands in 1919....

 Schiphol-Oost facility and the other at SABCA's
Société Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques
SABCA is a Belgian aerospace company, a subsidiary of the Dassault Group.Its main sectors of activity are civil aviation, space and defence.The company has three locations:...

 Gossellies plant in Belgium; production would be divided among them as 184 and 164 units, respectively. Norway's Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk
Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace
Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace , one of two operating companies of Kongsberg Gruppen of Norway, is a supplier of defence and space related systems and products, mainly anti-ship missiles, military communications, and command and weapons control systems for naval vessels and air-defence applications...

 and Denmark's Terma A/S
Terma A/S
Terma A/S is a Danish company that develops and markets high-tech solutions, systems, and products for civilian and military applications.From making thermometers to producing star trackers, Terma has evolved into a global supplier of high-tech products and technology to the defense and aerospace...

 also manufactured parts and subassemblies for EPAF aircraft. European co-production was officially launched on 1 July 1977 at the Fokker factory. Beginning in November 1977, Fokker-produced components were sent to Fort Worth for fuselage assembly, which were in turn shipped back to Europe for final assembly of EPAF aircraft at the Belgian plant on 15 February 1978, with deliveries to the Belgian Air Force
Belgian Air Force
The Air Component, formerly the Belgian Air Force, is the air arm of the Belgian Armed Forces. Originally founded in 1909, it is one of the world's first air forces, and was a pioneer in aerial combat during the First World War...

 from January 1979. The Dutch line started up in April 1978 and delivered its first aircraft to the Royal Netherlands Air Force
Royal Netherlands Air Force
The Royal Netherlands Air Force , Dutch Koninklijke Luchtmacht , is the military aviation branch of the Netherlands Armed Forces. Its ancestor, the Luchtvaartafdeling of the Dutch Army was founded on 1 July 1913, with four pilots...

 in June 1979. In 1980 the first aircraft were delivered to the Royal Norwegian Air Force
Royal Norwegian Air Force
The Royal Norwegian Air Force is the air force of Norway. It was established as a separate arm of the Norwegian armed forces on 10 November 1944. The RNoAF's peace force is approximately 1,430 employees . 600 personnel also serve their draft period in the RNoAF...

 by SABCA and to the Royal Danish Air Force
Royal Danish Air Force
The Royal Danish Air Force is the air force of Denmark with the capability to undertake homeland defense and homeland security roles as well international operations.-History:...

 by Fokker.

During the late 1980s and 1990s, Turkish Aerospace Industries
Turkish Aerospace Industries
Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. is the center of technology in design, development, manufacturing, integration of aerospace systems, modernization and after sales support in Turkey....

 (TAI) has produced 232 Block 30/40/50 F-16s on a production line in Ankara under license for the Turkish Air Force
Turkish Air Force
The Turkish Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the Turkish Armed Forces. It ranks 3rd in NATO in terms of fleet size behind the USAF and Royal Air Force with a current inventory of 798 aircraft .-Initial stages:...

. TAI also produced 30 Block 50 from 2010, and built 46 Block 40s for Egypt in the mid-1990s. Korean Aerospace Industries
Korean Aerospace Industries
Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. is a South Korean aerospace company, originally a JV of Samsung Aerospace, Daewoo Heavy Industries , and Hyundai Space and Aircraft Company , which in 1999 took over its founding members at the behest of the Korean government following their financial troubles...

 opened a domestic production line for the KF-16 program, producing 140 Block 52s from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s. If India had selected the F-16IN for its Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft
Indian MRCA Competition
The Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft Competition, also known as the MRCA tender, is an ongoing competition to supply 126 multi-role combat aircraft to the Indian Air Force . The Defence Ministry has allocated for the purchase of these aircraft, making it India's single largest...

 procurement, a sixth F-16 production line would be built in India to produce at least 108 fighters.

Improvements and upgrades


One change made during production was augmented pitch control to avoid deep stall conditions at high angles of attack. The stall issue had been raised during development, but had originally been discounted in the early design stages. Model tests of the YF-16 conducted by the Langley Research Center
Langley Research Center
Langley Research Center is the oldest of NASA's field centers, located in Hampton, Virginia, United States. It directly borders Poquoson, Virginia and Langley Air Force Base...

 revealed a potential problem, but no other laboratory was able to duplicate it. YF-16 flight tests were not sufficient to expose the issue, it required later flight testing on the FSD aircraft to demonstrate there was a real concern. In response, the areas of the horizontal stabilizer were increased 25% on the Block 15 aircraft in 1981 and retrofitted later on to earlier aircraft. Besides a significant reduction in the risk of deep stalls, the larger horizontal tail also improved stability and permitted faster takeoff rotation.

In the 1980s, the Multinational Staged Improvement Program (MSIP) was conducted to evolve new capabilities for the F-16, mitigate risks during technology development, and ensure the aircraft's worth. The program upgraded the F-16 in three stages. The MSIP process permitted the introduction of new capabilities quicker, at lower costs and with reduced risks, compared to traditional independent programs to upgrade and modernize aircraft. Other upgrade programs, including service life extensions, have been conducted on the F-16.

Overview


The F-16 is a single-engined, very maneuverable, supersonic, multi-role tactical aircraft. The F-16 was designed to be a cost-effective combat "workhorse" that can perform various kinds of missions and maintain around-the-clock readiness. It is much smaller and lighter than its predecessors, but uses advanced aerodynamics
Aerodynamics
Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. Aerodynamics is a subfield of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them. Aerodynamics is often used synonymously with gas dynamics, with...

 and avionics
Avionics
Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...

, including the first use of a relaxed static stability
Relaxed stability
In aviation, relaxed stability is the tendency of an aircraft to change its attitude and angle of bank of its own accord. An aircraft with relaxed stability will oscillate in simple harmonic motion around a particular attitude at an increasing amplitude....

/fly-by-wire (RSS/FBW) flight control system, to achieve enhanced maneuver performance. Highly nimble, the F-16 can pull 9-g
G-force
The g-force associated with an object is its acceleration relative to free-fall. This acceleration experienced by an object is due to the vector sum of non-gravitational forces acting on an object free to move. The accelerations that are not produced by gravity are termed proper accelerations, and...

maneuvers and can reach a maximum speed of over Mach
Mach number
Mach number is the speed of an object moving through air, or any other fluid substance, divided by the speed of sound as it is in that substance for its particular physical conditions, including those of temperature and pressure...

 2.

The Fighting Falcon includes innovations such as a frameless bubble canopy
Bubble canopy
A bubble canopy is a canopy made like a soap bubble, which attempts to provide 360° vision to the pilot.-History:Bubble canopies have been in use since World War II. The British had already developed the "Malcolm hood", which was a bulged canopy, but the British Miles M.20 was one of the first...

 for better visibility, side-mounted control stick
Side-stick
A side-stick or sidestick controller is an aircraft control column that is located on the side console of the pilot, usually on the righthand side, or outboard on a two-seat flightdeck...

, and reclined seat to reduce g-force
G-force
The g-force associated with an object is its acceleration relative to free-fall. This acceleration experienced by an object is due to the vector sum of non-gravitational forces acting on an object free to move. The accelerations that are not produced by gravity are termed proper accelerations, and...

 effects on the pilot. The F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcan
M61 Vulcan
The M61 Vulcan is a hydraulically or pneumatically driven, six-barreled, air-cooled, electrically fired Gatling-style rotary cannon which fires 20 mm rounds at an extremely high rate. The M61 and its derivatives have been the principal cannon armament of United States military fixed-wing aircraft...

 cannon in the left wing root and has 11 hardpoint
Hardpoint
A hardpoint, or weapon station, is any part of an airframe designed to carry an external load. This includes a point on the wing or fuselage of military aircraft where external ordnance, countermeasures, gun pods, targeting pods or drop tanks can be mounted.-Rail launchers:Large missiles and...

s for mounting various missiles, bombs and pods. It was also the first fighter aircraft purpose built to sustain 9-g turns. It has a thrust-to-weight ratio
Thrust-to-weight ratio
Thrust-to-weight ratio is a ratio of thrust to weight of a rocket, jet engine, propeller engine, or a vehicle propelled by such an engine. It is a dimensionless quantity and is an indicator of the performance of the engine or vehicle....

 greater than one, providing power to climb and accelerate vertically.

Early models could be armed with up to six AIM-9 Sidewinder
AIM-9 Sidewinder
The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a heat-seeking, short-range, air-to-air missile carried mostly by fighter aircraft and recently, certain gunship helicopters. The missile entered service with United States Air Force in the early 1950s, and variants and upgrades remain in active service with many air forces...

 heat-seeking short-range air-to-air missile
Air-to-air missile
An air-to-air missile is a missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft. AAMs are typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fuelled but sometimes liquid fuelled...

s (AAM), including rail launchers on each wingtip. Some F-16s can employ the AIM-7 Sparrow
AIM-7 Sparrow
The AIM-7 Sparrow is an American, medium-range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missile operated by the United States Air Force, United States Navy and United States Marine Corps, as well as various allied air forces and navies. Sparrow and its derivatives were the West's principal beyond visual...

 medium-range AAM; more recent versions can equip the AIM-120 AMRAAM
AIM-120 AMRAAM
The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM , is a modern beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile capable of all-weather day-and-night operations. Designed with the same form-factor as the previous generation of semi-active guided Sparrow missiles, it is a fire-and-forget...

. It can also carry other AAM; a wide variety of air-to-ground missiles, rockets or bombs; electronic countermeasures
Electronic countermeasures
An electronic countermeasure is an electrical or electronic device designed to trick or deceive radar, sonar or other detection systems, like infrared or lasers. It may be used both offensively and defensively to deny targeting information to an enemy...

 (ECM), navigation, targeting
Targeting pods
Targeting pods are target designation tools used by ground-attack aircraft for identifying targets and guiding precision guided munitions such as laser-guided bombs to those targets...

 or weapons pod
Gun pod
A gun pod is a detachable pod or pack containing machine guns or automatic cannon and ancillaries, mounted externally on a vehicle such as a military aircraft which may or may not also have its own guns....

s; and fuel tanks on 11 hardpoints – six under the wings, two on wingtips and three under the fuselage.

General configuration


The F-16 has a cropped-delta planform
Planform
In aviation, a planform is the shape and layout of a fixed-wing aircraft's fuselage and wing. Of all the myriad planforms used, they can typically be grouped into those used for low-speed flight, found on general aviation aircraft, and those used for high-speed flight, found on many military...

 incorporating wing-fuselage blending and forebody vortex
Vortex
A vortex is a spinning, often turbulent,flow of fluid. Any spiral motion with closed streamlines is vortex flow. The motion of the fluid swirling rapidly around a center is called a vortex...

-control strakes
Leading edge extension
A leading edge extension is a small extension to an aircraft wing surface, forward of the leading edge. Different kinds of extensions have been used for different reasons.-Leading edge slats:...

; a fixed-geometry, underslung air intake to the single turbofan
Turbofan
The turbofan is a type of airbreathing jet engine that is widely used for aircraft propulsion. A turbofan combines two types of engines, the turbo portion which is a conventional gas turbine engine, and the fan, a propeller-like ducted fan...

 jet engine
Jet engine
A jet engine is a reaction engine that discharges a fast moving jet to generate thrust by jet propulsion and in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. This broad definition of jet engines includes turbojets, turbofans, rockets, ramjets, pulse jets...

; a conventional tri-plane empennage
Empennage
The empennage , also known as the tail or tail assembly, of most aircraft gives stability to the aircraft, in a similar way to the feathers on an arrow...

 arrangement with all-moving horizontal "stabilator
Stabilator
A stabilator is an aircraft control surface that combines the functions of an elevator and a horizontal stabilizer...

" tailplanes; a pair of ventral fins beneath the fuselage aft of the wing's trailing edge; a single-piece, bird-proof "bubble" canopy
Bubble canopy
A bubble canopy is a canopy made like a soap bubble, which attempts to provide 360° vision to the pilot.-History:Bubble canopies have been in use since World War II. The British had already developed the "Malcolm hood", which was a bulged canopy, but the British Miles M.20 was one of the first...

; and a tricycle landing gear
Landing Gear
Landing Gear is Devin the Dude's fifth studio album. It was released on October 7, 2008. It was his first studio album since signing with the label Razor & Tie. It features a high-profile guest appearance from Snoop Dogg. As of October 30, 2008, the album has sold 18,906 copies.-Track...

 configuration with the aft-retracting, steerable nose gear deploying a short distance behind the inlet lip. There is a boom-style aerial refueling
Aerial refueling
Aerial refueling, also called air refueling, in-flight refueling , air-to-air refueling or tanking, is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight....

 receptacle located a short distance behind the canopy. Split-flap speedbrakes
Air brake (aircraft)
In aeronautics, air brakes or speedbrakes are a type of flight control surface used on an aircraft to increase drag or increase the angle of approach during landing....

 are located at the aft end of the wing-body fairing, and an arrestor hook is mounted underneath the fuselage. Another fairing is situated beneath the bottom of the rudder, often used to house ECM equipment or a drag chute. Several later F-16 models, such as the F-16I, also have a long dorsal fairing "bulge" along the "spine" of the fuselage from the cockpit
Cockpit
A cockpit or flight deck is the area, usually near the front of an aircraft, from which a pilot controls the aircraft. Most modern cockpits are enclosed, except on some small aircraft, and cockpits on large airliners are also physically separated from the cabin...

's rear to the tail fairing, it can be used for additional equipment or fuel.

The F-16 was designed to be relatively inexpensive to build and simpler to maintain than earlier-generation fighters. The airframe
Airframe
The airframe of an aircraft is its mechanical structure. It is typically considered to include fuselage, wings and undercarriage and exclude the propulsion system...

 is built with about 80% aviation-grade aluminum alloys, 8% steel, 3% composites, and 1.5% titanium
Titanium
Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. It has a low density and is a strong, lustrous, corrosion-resistant transition metal with a silver color....

. The leading-edge flaps, tailerons, and ventral fins make use of bonded aluminum honeycomb structures and graphite epoxy laminate
Laminate
A laminate is a material that can be constructed by uniting two or more layers of material together. The process of creating a laminate is lamination, which in common parlance refers to the placing of something between layers of plastic and gluing them with heat and/or pressure, usually with an...

 coatings. The number of lubrication
Lubrication
Lubrication is the process, or technique employed to reduce wear of one or both surfaces in close proximity, and moving relative to each another, by interposing a substance called lubricant between the surfaces to carry or to help carry the load between the opposing surfaces. The interposed...

 points, fuel line connections, and replaceable modules
Line-replaceable unit
A line-replaceable unit is a modular component of an airplane, ship or spacecraft that is designed to be replaced quickly at an operating location. An LRU is usually a sealed unit such as a radio or other auxiliary equipment...

 is significantly lower than predecessors; 80% of access panels can be accessed without stands. The air intake was designed: "far enough forward to allow a gradual bend in the air duct up to the engine face to minimize flow losses and far enough aft so it wouldn't weigh too much or be too draggy or destabilizing."

Although the LWF program called for an aircraft structural life of 4,000 flight hours, capable of achieving 7.33 g with 80% internal fuel; GD's engineers decided to design the F-16's airframe life for 8,000 hours and for 9-g maneuvers on full internal fuel. This proved advantageous when the aircraft's mission changed from solely air-to-air combat to multi-role operations. Since introduction, changes in operational usage and additional systems have increased aircraft weight, necessitating several programs to strengthen its structure.

Wing and strake configuration


Aerodynamic studies in the early 1960s demonstrated that the phenomenon known as "vortex lift
Vortex lift
Vortex lift is a form of lift generated by delta wings operating at high angles of attack.-How it works:Vortex lift works by capturing vortices generated from the sharply swept leading edge of the wing. The vortex, formed roughly parallel to the leading edge of the wing, is trapped by the airflow...

" could be beneficially harnessed by the adoption of highly swept wing
Swept wing
A swept wing is a wing planform favored for high subsonic jet speeds first investigated by Germany during the Second World War. Since the introduction of the MiG-15 and North American F-86 which demonstrated a decisive superiority over the slower first generation of straight-wing jet fighters...

 configurations to reach higher angles of attack
Angle of attack
Angle of attack is a term used in fluid dynamics to describe the angle between a reference line on a lifting body and the vector representing the relative motion between the lifting body and the fluid through which it is moving...

 through use of the strong leading edge
Leading edge
The leading edge is the part of the wing that first contacts the air; alternatively it is the foremost edge of an airfoil section. The first is an aerodynamic definition, the second a structural one....

 vortex flow off a slender lifting surface. Since the F-16 was being optimized for high agility in air combat, GD's designers chose a slender cropped-delta wing
Delta wing
The delta wing is a wing planform in the form of a triangle. It is named for its similarity in shape to the Greek uppercase letter delta .-Delta-shaped stabilizers:...

 with a leading edge sweep of 40° and a straight trailing edge. To improve maneuverability, a variable-camber
Camber (aerodynamics)
Camber, in aeronautics and aeronautical engineering, is the asymmetry between the top and the bottom surfaces of an aerofoil. An aerofoil that is not cambered is called a symmetric aerofoil...

 wing with a NACA 64A-204 airfoil
Airfoil
An airfoil or aerofoil is the shape of a wing or blade or sail as seen in cross-section....

 was selected; the camber is adjusted by leading-edge and trailing edge flaperon
Flaperon
A flaperon is a type of aircraft control surface that combines aspects of both flaps and ailerons. In addition to controlling the roll or bank of an aircraft as do conventional ailerons, both flaperons can be lowered together to function similarly to a dedicated set of flaps...

s linked to a digital flight control system (FCS) regulating the flight envelope
Flight envelope
In aerodynamics, the flight envelope or performance envelope of an aircraft refers to the capabilities of a design in terms of airspeed and load factor or altitude. The term is somewhat loosely applied, and can also refer to other measurements such as maneuverability...

. The F-16 has a moderate wing loading, which is lower when fuselage lift is considered.

The vortex lift effect is increased by extensions of the leading edge at the wing root (the juncture with the fuselage) known as a strake
Leading edge extension
A leading edge extension is a small extension to an aircraft wing surface, forward of the leading edge. Different kinds of extensions have been used for different reasons.-Leading edge slats:...

. Strakes act as an additional elongated, short-span, triangular wing running from the actual wing root to a point further forward on the fuselage. Blended into the fuselage and along the wing root, the strake generates a high-speed vortex that remains attached to the top of the wing as the angle of attack increases, thereby generating additional lift and thus allowing greater angles of attack without stalling. The use of strakes also allows a smaller, lower-aspect-ratio
Aspect ratio (wing)
In aerodynamics, the aspect ratio of a wing is essentially the ratio of its length to its breadth . A high aspect ratio indicates long, narrow wings, whereas a low aspect ratio indicates short, stubby wings....

 wing, which increases roll rates and directional stability while decreasing weight. Deeper wingroots also increase structural strength and increase internal fuel volume.

Negative stability and Fly-by-wire


The F-16 was the first production fighter aircraft intentionally designed to be slightly aerodynamically unstable, also known as "relaxed static stability
Relaxed stability
In aviation, relaxed stability is the tendency of an aircraft to change its attitude and angle of bank of its own accord. An aircraft with relaxed stability will oscillate in simple harmonic motion around a particular attitude at an increasing amplitude....

" (RSS), to improve maneuverability. Most aircraft are designed with positive static stability, which induces aircraft to return to straight and level flight attitude if the pilot releases the controls. This reduces maneuverability as the aircraft must overcome its inherent stability in order to maneuver. Aircraft with negative stability are designed to deviate from controlled flight and thus be more maneuverable. At supersonic speeds the F-16 gains stability (eventually positive) due to changes in aerodynamic forces.

To counter the tendency to depart from controlled flight—and avoid the need for constant trim inputs by the pilot, the F-16 has a quadruplex (four-channel) fly-by-wire (FBW) flight control system
Aircraft flight control systems
A conventional fixed-wing aircraft flight control system consists of flight control surfaces, the respective cockpit controls, connecting linkages, and the necessary operating mechanisms to control an aircraft's direction in flight...

 (FLCS). The flight control computer (FLCC) accepts pilot input from the stick and rudder controls, and manipulates the control surfaces in such a way as to produce the desired result without inducing control loss. The FLCC conducts thousands of measurements per second on the aircraft's flight attitude to automatically counter deviations from the pilot-set flight path; leading to a common aphorism among pilots: "You don't fly an F-16; it flies you."

The FLCC further incorporates limiters that govern movement in the three main axes
Flight dynamics
Flight dynamics is the science of air vehicle orientation and control in three dimensions. The three critical flight dynamics parameters are the angles of rotation in three dimensions about the vehicle's center of mass, known as pitch, roll and yaw .Aerospace engineers develop control systems for...

 based on current attitude, airspeed and angle of attack
Angle of attack
Angle of attack is a term used in fluid dynamics to describe the angle between a reference line on a lifting body and the vector representing the relative motion between the lifting body and the fluid through which it is moving...

 (AOA), and prevent control surfaces from inducing instability such as slips
Slip (aerodynamic)
A slip is an aerodynamic state where an aircraft is moving somewhat sideways as well as forward relative to the oncoming airflow. In other words, for a conventional aircraft, the nose will not be pointing directly into the relative wind .A slip is also a piloting maneuver where the pilot...

 or skids
Skid (aerodynamic)
In flying, a skid is a specific type of slip.It often means a turn where the sideways movement of the aircraft is outwards from the centre of the turn...

, or a high AOA inducing a stall
Stall (flight)
In fluid dynamics, a stall is a reduction in the lift coefficient generated by a foil as angle of attack increases. This occurs when the critical angle of attack of the foil is exceeded...

. The limiters also prevent maneuvers that would exert more than a 9 g
G force
The g-force associated with an object is its acceleration relative to free-fall.It may also refer to:* G-Force , a 2009 film by Disney** G-Force , a 2009 video game based on the film...

 load. Although each axis of movement is limited by the FLCC, flight testing revealed that "assaulting" multiple limiters at high AOA and low speed can result in an AOA far exceeding the 25° limit; colloquially referred to as "departing". This cause a deep stall; a near-freefall at 50° to 60° AOA, either upright or inverted. While at a very high AOA, the aircraft's attitude is stable but control surfaces are ineffective and the aircraft's pitch limiter locks the stabilators at an extreme pitch-up or pitch-down attempting to recover; the pitch-limiting can be overridden so the pilot can "rock" the nose via pitch control to recover.

Unlike the YF-17, which had hydromechanical controls serving as a backup to the FBW, Grumman took the innovative step of eliminating mechanical linkages between the stick and rudder pedals and the aerodynamic control surfaces. The F-16 is entirely reliant on its electrical systems to relay flight commands, instead of traditional mechanically-linked controls, leading to the early moniker of "the electric jet". The quadruplex design permits "graceful degradation" in flight control response in that the loss of one channel renders the FLCS a "triplex" system. The FLCC began as an analog system on the A/B variants, but has been supplanted by a digital computer system beginning with the F-16C/D Block 40. The F-16's controls suffered from a sensitivity to static electricity or electrostatic discharge
Electrostatic discharge
Electrostatic discharge is a serious issue in solid state electronics, such as integrated circuits. Integrated circuits are made from semiconductor materials such as silicon and insulating materials such as silicon dioxide...

 (ESD). Up to 70–80% of the C/D models' electronics were vulnerable to ESD.

Cockpit and ergonomics


One feature of the F-16 for air-to-air combat performance is the cockpit's exceptional field of view. The single-piece, bird-proof polycarbonate
Polycarbonate
PolycarbonatePhysical PropertiesDensity 1.20–1.22 g/cm3Abbe number 34.0Refractive index 1.584–1.586FlammabilityV0-V2Limiting oxygen index25–27%Water absorption – Equilibrium0.16–0.35%Water absorption – over 24 hours0.1%...

 bubble canopy
Bubble canopy
A bubble canopy is a canopy made like a soap bubble, which attempts to provide 360° vision to the pilot.-History:Bubble canopies have been in use since World War II. The British had already developed the "Malcolm hood", which was a bulged canopy, but the British Miles M.20 was one of the first...

 provides 360° all-round visibility, with a 40° look-down angle over the side of the aircraft, and 15° down over the nose (compared to the more common 12–13° of preceding aircraft); the pilot's seat is elevated for this purpose. Furthermore, the F-16's canopy lacks the forward bow frame found on many fighters, which is an obstruction to a pilot's forward vision.

The F-16's ACES II zero/zero ejection seat is reclined at an unusual tilt-back angle of 30°; most fighters have a tilted seat at 13–15°. The seat angle was chosen to improve pilot tolerance of high g forces and reduce susceptibility to gravity-induced loss of consciousness
G-LOC
G-LOC, pronounced 'GEE-lock', is the abbreviation of G-force induced Loss Of Consciousness, a term generally used in aerospace physiology to describe a loss of consciousness occurring from excessive and sustained g-forces draining blood away from the brain causing cerebral hypoxia...

. The seat angle has been associated with reports of neck ache, possibly caused by incorrect use of the head-rest. Subsequent U.S. fighters have adopted more modest tilt-back angles of 20°. Due to the seat angle and the canopy's thickness, the F-16's ejection seat lacks steel canopy breakers for emergency egress; instead the entire canopy is jettisoned prior to the seat's rocket firing.

The pilot flies primarily by means of an armrest-mounted side-stick
Side-stick
A side-stick or sidestick controller is an aircraft control column that is located on the side console of the pilot, usually on the righthand side, or outboard on a two-seat flightdeck...

 controller (instead of a traditional center-mounted stick
Centre stick
A centre stick , or simply control stick is an aircraft cockpit arrangement where the control column is located conventionally in the centre of the cockpit between the pilot's legs...

) and an engine throttle; conventional rudder pedals are also employed. To enhance the pilot's degree of control of the aircraft during high-g combat maneuvers, various switches and function controls were moved to centralised "hands on throttle-and-stick
HOTAS
HOTAS, an abbreviation for Hands On Throttle-And-Stick, is the name given to the concept of placing buttons and switches on the throttle stick and flight control stick in an aircraft's cockpit, allowing the pilot to access vital cockpit functions and fly the aircraft without having to remove his...

 (HOTAS)" controls upon both the controllers and the throttle. Hand pressure on the side-stick controller is transmitted by electrical signals via the FBW system to adjust various flight control surfaces to maneuver the F-16. Originally the side-stick controller was non-moving, but this proved uncomfortable and difficult for pilots to adjust to, sometimes resulting in a tendency to "over-rotate" during takeoffs, so the control stick was given a small amount of "play". Since introduction on the F-16, HOTAS controls have become a standard feature on modern fighters.

The F-16 has a head-up display
Head-Up Display
A head-up display or heads-up display is any transparent display that presents data without requiring users to look away from their usual viewpoints...

 (HUD), which projects visual flight and combat information in front of the pilot without obstructing the view; being able to keep his head "out of the cockpit" improves a pilot's situational awareness. Further flight and systems information are displayed on multi-function display
Multi-function display
A Multi-function display is a small screen in an aircraft surrounded by multiple buttons that can be used to display information to the pilot in numerous configurable ways. Often an MFD will be used in concert with a Primary Flight Display. MFDs are part of the digital era of modern planes or...

s (MFD). The left-hand MFD is the primary flight display
Primary flight display
A primary flight display or PFD is a modern aircraft instrument dedicated to flight information. Much like multi-function displays, primary flight displays are built around an LCD or CRT display device...

 (PFD), typically showing radar and moving-maps; the right-hand MFD is the system display (SD), presenting information about the engine, landing gear, slat and flap settings, and fuel and weapons status. Initially, the F-16A/B had monochrome cathode ray tube
Cathode ray tube
The cathode ray tube is a vacuum tube containing an electron gun and a fluorescent screen used to view images. It has a means to accelerate and deflect the electron beam onto the fluorescent screen to create the images. The image may represent electrical waveforms , pictures , radar targets and...

 (CRT) displays; replaced by color liquid crystal display
Liquid crystal display
A liquid crystal display is a flat panel display, electronic visual display, or video display that uses the light modulating properties of liquid crystals . LCs do not emit light directly....

s on the Block 50/52. The MLU introduced compatibility with night-vision goggles (NVG). The Boeing
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) is available from Block 40 onwards, for targeting based on where the pilot's head faces, unrestricted by the HUD, using high-off-boresight
Boresight
Boresight is a term used to describe crude adjustments made to an optical firearm sight, or iron sights, to align the firearm barrel and sights. This method is usually used to pre-align the sights, which makes zeroing much faster.Traditional boresighting, as the name suggests involves removing...

 missiles like the AIM-9X
AIM-9 Sidewinder
The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a heat-seeking, short-range, air-to-air missile carried mostly by fighter aircraft and recently, certain gunship helicopters. The missile entered service with United States Air Force in the early 1950s, and variants and upgrades remain in active service with many air forces...

.

Fire-control radar


The F-16A/B was originally equipped with the Westinghouse AN/APG-66
AN/APG-66
The AN/APG-66 radar is a solid state medium range Pulse-doppler radar designed by Westinghouse for use in the F-16 Fighting Falcon and in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's C-550 Cessna Citation, US Navy P-3 Orion, and Piper PA-42 Cheyenne II's as well as the Small Aerostat Surveillance...

 fire-control radar
Fire-control radar
A fire-control radar is a radar which is designed specifically to provide information to a fire-control system in order to calculate a firing solution...

. Its slotted planar-array antenna was designed to be compact to fit into the F-16's relatively small nose. In uplook mode, the APG-66 uses a low pulse-repetition frequency
Pulse repetition frequency
Pulse repetition frequency or Pulse repetition rate is the number of pulses per time unit . It is a measure or specification mostly used within various technical disciplines Pulse repetition frequency (PRF) or Pulse repetition rate (PRR) is the number of pulses per time unit (e.g. Seconds). It...

 (PRF) for medium- and high-altitude target detection in a low-clutter
Clutter (radar)
Clutter is a term used for unwanted echoes in electronic systems, particularly in reference to radars. Such echoes are typically returned from ground, sea, rain, animals/insects, chaff and atmospheric turbulences, and can cause serious performance issues with radar systems.- Backscatter coefficient...

 environment, and in downlook employs a medium PRF for heavy clutter environments. It has four operating frequencies within the X band
X band
The X band is a segment of the microwave radio region of the electromagnetic spectrum. In some cases, such as in communication engineering, the frequency range of X band is rather indefinitely set at approximately 7.0 to 11.2 gigahertz . In radar engineering, the frequency range is specified...

, and provides four air-to-air and seven air-to-ground operating modes for combat, even at night or in bad weather. The Block 15's APG-66(V)2 model added a more powerful signal processor, higher output power, improved reliability and increased range in cluttered or jamming environments. The Mid-Life Update (MLU) program introduced a new model, APG-66(V)2A, which features higher speed and more memory.

The AN/APG-68
AN/APG-68
The AN/APG-68 radar is a long range Pulse-doppler radar designed by Westinghouse to replace AN/APG-66 radar in the F-16 Fighting Falcon...

, an evolution of the APG-66, was introduced with the F-16C/D Block 25. The APG-68 has greater range and resolution, as well as 25 operating modes, including ground-mapping, Doppler beam-sharpening, ground moving target, sea target, and track-while-scan (TWS) for up to 10 targets. The Block 40/42's APG-68(V)1 model added full compatibility with Lockheed Martin Low-Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infra-Red for Night
LANTIRN
Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night, or LANTIRN, is a combined navigation and targeting pod system for use on the USAF's premier fighter aircraft — the F-15E Strike Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon...

 (LANTIRN) pods, and a high-PRF pulse-Doppler track mode to provide continuous-wave (CW) target illumination for semi-active radar-homing
Semi-active radar homing
Semi-active radar homing, or SARH, is a common type of missile guidance system, perhaps the most common type for longer-range air-to-air and surface-to-air missile systems. The name refers to the fact that the missile itself is only a passive detector of a radar signal – provided by an external ...

 (SARH) missiles like the AIM-7 Sparrow
AIM-7 Sparrow
The AIM-7 Sparrow is an American, medium-range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missile operated by the United States Air Force, United States Navy and United States Marine Corps, as well as various allied air forces and navies. Sparrow and its derivatives were the West's principal beyond visual...

. Block 50/52 F-16s initially used the more reliable APG-68(V)5 which has a programmable signal processor employing Very-High-Speed Integrated Circuit
VHSIC
VHSIC was a 1980s U.S. government program to develop very-high-speed integrated circuits.The United States Department of Defense launched the VHSIC project in 1980 as a joint tri-service project. The project led to advances in integrated circuit materials, lithography, packaging, testing, and...

 (VHSIC) technology. The Advanced Block 50/52 (or 50+/52+) are equipped with the APG-68(V)9 radar, with a 30% greater air-to-air detection range and a synthetic aperture radar
Synthetic aperture radar
Synthetic-aperture radar is a form of radar whose defining characteristic is its use of relative motion between an antenna and its target region to provide distinctive long-term coherent-signal variations that are exploited to obtain finer spatial resolution than is possible with conventional...

 (SAR) mode for high-resolution mapping and target detection-recognition. In August 2004, Northrop Grumman were contracted to upgrade the APG-68 radars of the Block 40/42/50/52 aircraft to the (V)10 standard, providing the F-16 with all-weather autonomous detection and targeting for Global Positioning System
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

 (GPS)-aided precision weapons. It also adds SAR mapping and terrain-following (TF) modes, as well as interleaving of all modes.

The F-16E/F is outfitted with Northrop Grumman's AN/APG-80
AN/APG-80
The AN/APG-80 is an Active Electronically Scanned Array system designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman for use on the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft...

 Active Electronically Scanned Array
Active Electronically Scanned Array
An Active Electronically Scanned Array , also known as active phased array radar is a type of phased array radar whose transmitter and receiver functions are composed of numerous small solid-state transmit/receive modules . AESAs aim their "beam" by broadcasting radio energy that interfere...

 (AESA) radar, making it only the third fighter to be so equipped. Northrop Grumman is continuing development upon this latest radar, to form the Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR). In July 2007, Raytheon announced that it was developing a Next Generation Radar (RANGR) based on its earlier AN/APG-79 AESA radar as a competitor to Northrop Grumman's AN/APG-68 and AN/APG-80 for the F-16.

Propulsion


The powerplant first selected for the single-engined F-16 was the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200
Pratt & Whitney F100
-External links:* * *...

 afterburning turbofan, a slightly modified version of the F100-PW-100 used by the F-15. Rated at 23,830 lbf (106.0 kN) thrust, it was the standard F-16 engine through the Block 25, except for new-build Block 15s with the Operational Capability Upgrade (OCU). The OCU introduced the 23,770 lbf (105.7 kN) F100-PW-220, which was also installed on Block 32 and 42 aircraft: the main advance being a Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC) unit, which improved engine reliability and reduced stall
Stall (engine)
A stall is the slowing or stopping of a process, and in the case of an engine, refers to a sudden stopping of the engine turning, usually brought about accidentally....

 occurrence. Added to the production line in 1988 the "-220" also supplanted the F-15's "-100", for commonality. Many of the "-220" engines on Block 25 and later aircraft were upgraded from mid-1997 to the "-220E" standard, which enhanced reliability and engine maintainability, unscheduled engine removals were reduced by 35%.

The F100-PW-220/220E was the result of the USAF's Alternate Fighter Engine (AFE) program (colloquially known as "the Great Engine War"), which also saw the entry of General Electric as an F-16 engine provider. Its F110-GE-100
General Electric F110
-External links:* - The F110 Engine Family* - F110-GE-100 Gallery* - F110* - General Electric F110...

 turbofan was limited by the original inlet to thrust of 25,735 lbf (114.5 kN), the Modular Common Inlet Duct allowed the F110 to achieve its maximum thrust of 28,984 lbf (128.9 kN). (To distinguish between aircraft equipped with these two engines and inlets, from the Block 30 series on, blocks ending in "0" (e.g., Block 30) are powered by GE, and blocks ending in "2" (e.g., Block 32) are fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines.)

The Increased Performance Engine (IPE) program led to the 29,588 lbf (131.6 kN) F110-GE-129 on the Block 50 and 29,160 lbf (129.4 kN) F100-PW-229 on the Block 52. F-16s began flying with these IPE engines in the early 1990s. Altogether, of the 1,446 F-16C/Ds ordered by the USAF, 556 were fitted with F100-series engines and 890 with F110s. The United Arab Emirates’ Block 60 is powered by the General Electric F110-GE-132 turbofan, which is rated at a maximum thrust of 32,500 lbf (144.6 kN), the highest developed for the F-16.

Operational history


Due to their ubiquity, F-16s have participated in numerous conflicts, most of them in the Middle East.

United States


The F-16 is being used by the active duty USAF, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard
Air National Guard
The Air National Guard , often referred to as the Air Guard, is the air force militia organized by each of the fifty U.S. states, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia of the United States. Established under Title 10 and...

 units, the USAF aerial demonstration team, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds are the air demonstration squadron of the U.S. Air Force , based at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada. The squadron tours the United States and much of the world, performing aerobatic formation and solo flying in specially marked USAF jet aircraft...

, and as an adversary-aggressor aircraft by the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center
Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center
The Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center at Naval Air Station Fallon located in the city of Fallon in western Nevada is the center of excellence for naval aviation training and tactics development...

.

The U.S. Air Force, to include the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard, has flown the F-16 in combat during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and in the Balkans later in the 1990s. F-16s also patrolled the no-fly zones in Iraq during Operations Northern Watch and Southern Watch and served during the wars in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) in the 2000s. Most recently, the U.S. has deployed them to enforce the no-fly zone in Libya.

The F-16 is scheduled to remain in service with the U.S. Air Force until 2025. The planned replacement is the F-35A version of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, which will gradually begin replacing a number of multi-role aircraft among the program's member nations.

Israel


The F-16's first air-to-air combat success was achieved by the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 (IAF) over the Bekaa Valley on 28 April 1981, against a Syrian Mi-8
Mil Mi-8
The Mil Mi-8 is a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter that can also act as a gunship. The Mi-8 is the world's most-produced helicopter, and is used by over 50 countries. Russia is the largest operator of the Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopter....

 helicopter, which was downed with cannon fire. On 7 June 1981, eight Israeli F-16s, escorted by F-15s, executed Operation Opera
Operation Opera
Operation Babylon was a surprise Israeli air strike carried out on June 7, 1981, that destroyed a nuclear reactor under construction 17 kilometers southeast of Baghdad, Iraq....

, their first employment in a significant air-to-ground operation. This raid severely damaged Osirak, an Iraqi nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

 under construction near Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, to prevent the regime of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 from using the reactor for the creation of nuclear weapons.

The following year, during the 1982 Lebanon War
1982 Lebanon War
The 1982 Lebanon War , , called Operation Peace for Galilee by Israel, and later known in Israel as the Lebanon War and First Lebanon War, began on 6 June 1982, when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon...

 Israeli F-16s engaged Syrian aircraft in one of the largest air battles involving jet aircraft, which began on 9 June and continued for two more days. Israeli Air Force F-16s were credited with numerous air-to-air kills during the conflict. F-16s were also used in their ground-attack role for strikes against targets in Lebanon. IAF F-16s participated in the 2006 Lebanon War and during the attacks in the Gaza strip in December 2008.

Pakistan


During the Soviet-Afghan war, between May 1986 and January 1989, Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan Air Force
The Pakistan Air Force is the leading air arm of the Pakistan Armed Forces and is primarily tasked with the aerial defence of Pakistan with a secondary role of providing air support to the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Navy. The PAF also has a tertiary role of providing strategic air transport...

 (PAF) F-16s shot down at least 10 intruders from Afghanistan.

The Pakistan Air Force has used its F-16s in various foreign and internal military exercises, such as the "Indus Vipers" exercise in 2008 conducted jointly with Turkey. Since May 2009, the PAF has also been using their F-16 fleet to attack militant positions and support the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

's operations in North-West Pakistan
War in North-West Pakistan
The War in North-West Pakistan is an armed conflict between the Pakistan Armed Forces and armed religious groups such as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan , Lashkar-e-Islam, TSNM, Arab and Central Asian militants including Al-Qaeda, regional armed movements and elements of organized crime.The armed...

 against the Taliban insurgency.

Other


The Royal Netherlands Air Force
Royal Netherlands Air Force
The Royal Netherlands Air Force , Dutch Koninklijke Luchtmacht , is the military aviation branch of the Netherlands Armed Forces. Its ancestor, the Luchtvaartafdeling of the Dutch Army was founded on 1 July 1913, with four pilots...

, Belgian Air Force
Belgian Air Force
The Air Component, formerly the Belgian Air Force, is the air arm of the Belgian Armed Forces. Originally founded in 1909, it is one of the world's first air forces, and was a pioneer in aerial combat during the First World War...

, Turkish Air Force
Turkish Air Force
The Turkish Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the Turkish Armed Forces. It ranks 3rd in NATO in terms of fleet size behind the USAF and Royal Air Force with a current inventory of 798 aircraft .-Initial stages:...

, Royal Danish Air Force
Royal Danish Air Force
The Royal Danish Air Force is the air force of Denmark with the capability to undertake homeland defense and homeland security roles as well international operations.-History:...

, Royal Norwegian Air Force
Royal Norwegian Air Force
The Royal Norwegian Air Force is the air force of Norway. It was established as a separate arm of the Norwegian armed forces on 10 November 1944. The RNoAF's peace force is approximately 1,430 employees . 600 personnel also serve their draft period in the RNoAF...

, Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan Air Force
The Pakistan Air Force is the leading air arm of the Pakistan Armed Forces and is primarily tasked with the aerial defence of Pakistan with a secondary role of providing air support to the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Navy. The PAF also has a tertiary role of providing strategic air transport...

, and Venezuela have flown the F-16 on combat missions. A Serbian MiG-29 was shot down by a Dutch F-16AM during the Kosovo War
Kosovo War
The term Kosovo War or Kosovo conflict was two sequential, and at times parallel, armed conflicts in Kosovo province, then part of FR Yugoslav Republic of Serbia; from early 1998 to 1999, there was an armed conflict initiated by the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" , who sought independence...

 in 1999. Belgian and Danish F-16s also participated in joint operations over Kosovo during the war.

Variants


F-16 models are denoted by increasing block numbers to denote upgrades. The blocks cover both single- and two-seat versions. A variety of software, hardware, systems, weapons compatibility, and structural enhancements have been instituted over the years to gradually upgrade production models and retrofit
Retrofit
Retrofitting refers to the addition of new technology or features to older systems.* power plant retrofit, improving power plant efficiency / increasing output / reducing emissions...

 delivered aircraft.

While many F-16s were produced according to these block designs, there have been many other variants with significant changes, usually due to modification programs. Other changes have resulted in role-specialization, such as the close air support and reconnaissance variants. Several models were also developed to test new technology. The F-16 design also inspired the design of other aircraft, which are considered derivatives. Older F-16s are to be converted into drone targets.

F-16A/B : The F-16A (single seat) and F-16B (two seat) were initial production variants. These variants include the Block 1, 5, 10 and 20 versions. Block 15 was the first major change to the F-16 with larger horizontal stabilizers. It is the most numerous F-16 variant with 475 produced.
F-16C/D : The F-16C (single seat) and F-16D (two seat) variants entered production in 1984. The first C/D version was the Block 25 with improved cockpit avionics and radar which added all-weather capability with beyond-visual-range
Beyond Visual Range missile
A beyond-visual-range missile usually refers to an air-to-air missile that is capable of engaging at ranges beyond . This range has been achieved using dual pulse rocket motors or booster rocket motor and ramjet sustainer motor....

 (BVR) AIM-7 and AIM-120 air-air missiles. Block 30/32, 40/42, and 50/52 were later C/D versions. The F-16C/D had a unit cost of US$18.8 million (1998).


F-16E/F : The F-16E (single seat) and F-16F (two seat) are newer F-16 variants. The Block 60 version is based on the F-16C/D Block 50/52 and has been developed especially for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It features improved AN/APG-80
AN/APG-80
The AN/APG-80 is an Active Electronically Scanned Array system designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman for use on the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft...

 Active Electronically Scanned Array
Active Electronically Scanned Array
An Active Electronically Scanned Array , also known as active phased array radar is a type of phased array radar whose transmitter and receiver functions are composed of numerous small solid-state transmit/receive modules . AESAs aim their "beam" by broadcasting radio energy that interfere...

 (AESA) radar, avionics, conformal fuel tank
Conformal fuel tank
Conformal fuel tanks are additional fuel tanks fitted closely to the profile of an aircraft which extend either the range or "time on station" of the aircraft, with a reduced aerodynamic penalty compared to external drop tanks....

s (CFTs), and the more powerful GE F110-132
General Electric F110
-External links:* - The F110 Engine Family* - F110-GE-100 Gallery* - F110* - General Electric F110...

 engine.
F-16IN : For the Indian MRCA competition
Indian MRCA Competition
The Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft Competition, also known as the MRCA tender, is an ongoing competition to supply 126 multi-role combat aircraft to the Indian Air Force . The Defence Ministry has allocated for the purchase of these aircraft, making it India's single largest...

 for the Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force is the air arm of the Indian armed forces. Its primary responsibility is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during a conflict...

, Lockheed Martin offered the F-16IN Super Viper. The F-16IN is based on the F-16E/F Block 60 and features conformal fuel tanks; AN/APG-80 AESA radar, GE F110-132A engine with FADEC
FADEC
Full Authority Digital Engine Control is a system consisting of a digital computer, called an electronic engine controller or engine control unit , and its related accessories that control all aspects of aircraft engine performance...

 controls; electronic warfare suite and infra-red searching (IRST); updated glass cockpit; and a helmet-mounted cueing system. As of 2011, the F-16IN is no longer in the competition.

F-16IQ : In September 2010, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency
Defense Security Cooperation Agency
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency , as part of the United States Department of Defense , provides financial and technical assistance, transfer of defense matériel, training and services to allies, and promotes military-to-military contacts....

 informed the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 of a possible Foreign Military Sale of 18 F-16IQ aircraft along with the associated equipment and services to the newly reformed Iraqi Air Force
Iraqi Air Force
The Iraqi Air Force or IQAF is the military branch in Iraq responsible for the policing of international borders, surveillance of national assets and aerial operations...

. Total value of sale is estimated at .

Operators



Over 4,450 F-16s had been delivered by July 2010.

Notable accidents and incidents


  • On 8 May 1975, while practicing a 9-g aerial display maneuver with the second YF-16 (tail number 72-1568) at Fort Worth
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

    , prior to being sent to the Paris Air Show
    Paris Air Show
    The Paris Air Show is the world's oldest and largest air show. Established in 1909, it is currently held every odd year at Le Bourget Airport in north Paris, France...

    , one of the main landing gear jammed. The test pilot, Neil Anderson, had to perform an emergency gear-up landing and chose to do so in the grass, hoping to minimize damage and to avoid injuring any observers. The aircraft was only slightly damaged, but due to the mishap the first prototype was sent to the Paris Air Show in its place.

  • On 11 February 1992, an F-16 from the Royal Netherlands Air Force
    Royal Netherlands Air Force
    The Royal Netherlands Air Force , Dutch Koninklijke Luchtmacht , is the military aviation branch of the Netherlands Armed Forces. Its ancestor, the Luchtvaartafdeling of the Dutch Army was founded on 1 July 1913, with four pilots...

     crashed into the city of Hengelo
    Hengelo
    Hengelo is a municipality and a city in the eastern Netherlands, in the province of Overijssel. The city lies along the motorways A1/E30 and A35 and it has a station for the International Amsterdam – Hannover – Berlin service.-Traffic and transport:...

    . The fighter suffered engine failure shortly after takeoff and the pilot tried to return to the nearby Twente air base
    Enschede Airport Twente
    Enschede Airport Twente is located north from Enschede, a municipality in the Twente region and the Overijssel province of the Netherlands. It has one runway , though one of the current taxiways has been used as a runway...

    . The pilot ejected and landed safely on the roof of a building. The F-16 crashed between houses in a residential area, without causing any injuries on the ground.

  • During a joint Army-Air Force exercise being conducted at Pope AFB, North Carolina, on 23 March 1994, F-16D (AF Serial No. 88-0171) of the 23d Fighter Wing
    23d Wing
    The 23d Wing is a front-line United States Air Force Air Combat Command wing currently assigned to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.-Mission:The mission of the 23d Wing is to organize, train and employ combat-ready A-10, HC-130 and HH-60, as well as pararescuemen and force protection assets...

     / 74th Fighter Squadron
    74th Fighter Squadron
    The 74th Fighter Squadron ' is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 23d Fighter Group and stationed at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia....

     was simulating an engine-out approach when it collided with a USAF C-130E. Both F-16 crew members ejected, but their aircraft, on full afterburner, continued on an arc towards Green Ramp and struck a USAF C-141 that was embarking US Army paratroopers. This accident resulted in 24 fatalities and at least 80 others injured. It has since been known as the "Green Ramp disaster
    Green Ramp disaster
    The Green Ramp disaster was a 1994 mid-air collision and subsequent ground collision at Pope Air Force Base , North Carolina that killed twenty-four members of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division preparing for an airborne operation...

    ".

  • On 27 March 2000, an Israeli Air Force
    Israeli Air Force
    The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

     F-16D-30F of 109 Sq based at Ramat David Air Base crashed into the Mediterranean Sea
    Mediterranean Sea
    The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

     during a training flight 17 nmi (31.5 km) off the coastal village of Atlit in northern Israel. The pilot, Major Yonatan Begin, was a grandson of former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin
    Menachem Begin
    ' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

    . Neither he nor his co-pilot notified their ground controllers of any problems.

  • On 15 September 2003, a U.S. Air Force Thunderbird F-16C crashed during a Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, air show. Captain Christopher Stricklin attempted a "Split S
    Split S
    The Split S is an air combat maneuver mostly used to disengage from combat. To execute a Split S, the pilot half-rolls his aircraft inverted and executes a descending half-loop, resulting in level flight in the exact opposite direction at a lower altitude....

    " maneuver based on an incorrect mean-sea-level altitude of the airfield. Climbing to only 1670 ft (509 m) above ground level instead of 2500 ft (762 m), Stricklin had insufficient altitude to complete the maneuver, but was able to guide the aircraft away from the spectators and ejected less than one second before impact. The pilot survived with only minor injuries; the aircraft was destroyed. US Air Force procedure for demonstration "Split-S" maneuvers was changed to require pilots and air controllers to both work in above mean-sea-level altitudes.

  • On 23 May 2006, a Greek F-16 and a Turkish F-16 collided 10 miles (16 km) from Karpathos
    Karpathos
    Karpathos is the second largest of the Greek Dodecanese islands, in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Together with the neighboring smaller Saria Island it forms the municipality Karpathos, which is part of the Karpathos peripheral unit. From its remote position Karpathos has preserved many...

     island. Greek pilot Kostas Iliakis was killed, and Turkish pilot Halil Ibrahim Ozdemir bailed out and was rescued by a cargo ship.

  • On 27 November 2006, a USAF F-16CG from the 524th Fighter Squadron
    524th Fighter Squadron
    The 524th Special Operations Squadron is a Special Operations squadron of the United States Air Force, based at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, with the 27th Special Operations Wing.It is nicknamed the “Hounds of Heaven”.-History:...

     crashed northwest of Baghdad, Iraq killing the pilot, Major Troy "Trojan" Gilbert. Major Gilbert was supporting a troops-in-contact situation where US forces were under small arms fire from insurgents. The cause of the crash was attributed to pilot error.

  • On 13 September 2009, an Israeli Air Force
    Israeli Air Force
    The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

     F-16A crashed while on a training flight over the southern Hebron hills, killing the pilot, Assaf Ramon. Assaf was the son of Ilan Ramon
    Ilan Ramon
    Ilan Ramon was a fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force, and later the first Israeli astronaut....

    , a former F-16 pilot and Israel's first astronaut, killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
    Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
    The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the death of all seven crew members...

    .

  • On 26 August 2010, two Greek Air Force
    Hellenic Air Force
    The Hellenic Air Force, abbreviated to HAF is the air force of Greece. The mission of the Hellenic Air Force is to guard and protect Greek airspace, provide air assistance and support to the Hellenic Army and the Hellenic Navy, as well as the provision of humanitarian aid in Greece and around the...

     F-16s collided in mid-air off the southwestern coast of Crete
    Crete
    Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

    , killing one and injuring two pilots.

  • On 14 February 2011, two Royal Thai Air Force
    Royal Thai Air Force
    The Royal Thai Air Force or RTAF is the air force of the Kingdom of Thailand. Since its establishment in 1913, as one of the earliest air forces of Asia, the Royal Thai Air Force had engaged in many major and minor battles. During the Vietnam war era, the air force has been developed with USAF-aid...

     F-16s crashed in northeastern Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold. Both pilots ejected safely. The cause of the accident has not been determined.

  • On 28 July 2011 a US Air Force F-16 of the Alabama Air National Guard
    Alabama Air National Guard
    The Alabama Air National Guard is the air force militia of the U.S. state of Alabama. It is, along with the Alabama Army National Guard, an element of the Alabama National Guard...

     overran a runway and was damaged during an exhibition at EAA
    EAA
    EAA can refer to:*Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, an international organization of churches*Educational Assessment Australia, an educational assessment organisation*Electric Auto Association, a group advocating use of electric automobiles...

     AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI.


Specifications (F-16C Block 30)




Notable appearances in media


See also


Further reading

  • Drendel, Lou. F-16 Fighting Falcon – Walk Around No. 1. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Books, 1993. ISBN 0-89747-307-8.
  • Gunston, Bill
    Bill Gunston
    Bill Gunston OBE FRAeS is one of the most internationally respected and published aviation and military authors. He flew with Britain's Royal Air Force from 1943 to 1948, and is a flying instructor. He has spent most of his adult life doing research and writing on aircraft and aviation. He is the...

    . United States Military Aircraft of the 20th Century London: Salamander Books Ltd, 1984. ISBN 0-86101-163-5.
  • Jenkins, Dennis R. McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, Supreme Heavy-Weight Fighter. Arlington, Texas: Aerofax, 1998. ISBN 1-85780-081-8.
  • Sweetman, Bill
    Bill Sweetman
    Bill Sweetman is a former editor for Jane's and currently an editor for Aviation Week group. He is a writer of more than 50 books on military aircraft. He lives in Oakdale, Minnesota. He is noted for his dogged pursuit of the Aurora project...

    . Supersonic Fighters: The F-16 Fighting Falcons. Mankato, Minnesota: Capstone Press, 2008. ISBN 1-42961-315-7.
  • Williams, Anthony G. and Dr. Emmanuel Gustin. Flying Guns: The Modern Era. Ramsbury, UK: The Crowood Press, 2004. ISBN 1-86126-655-3.

External links