General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

A USAF F-16C over Iraq in 2008

A USAF F-16C over Iraq in 2008

The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,500 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,which in turn became part of Lockheed Martin after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta.

The Fighting Falcon has key features including a frameless bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while maneuvering, a seat reclined 30 degrees to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot, and the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire flight control system which helps to make it a nimble aircraft. The F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcan cannon and 11 locations for mounting weapons and other mission equipment. The F-16’s official name is “Fighting Falcon”, but “Viper” is commonly used by its pilots and crews, due to a perceived resemblance to a viper snake as well as the Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper starfighter.

In addition to active duty for U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, and Air National Guard units, the aircraft is also used by the USAF aerial demonstration team, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and as an adversary/aggressor aircraft by the United States Navy. The F-16 has also been procured to serve in the air forces of 25 other nations. As of 2015, it is the second most common currently operational military aircraft in the world

Role Multirole fighter, air superiority fighter
National origin United States
Manufacturer General Dynamics
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
First flight 20 January 1974
Introduction 17 August 1978
Status In service
Primary users United States Air Force
25 other users (see operators page)
Produced 1973–present
Number built 4,573 (July 2016)
Unit cost
F-16A/B: US$14.6 million (1998)
F-16C/D: US$18.8 million (1998)
Variants General Dynamics F-16 VISTA
Developed into Vought Model 1600
General Dynamics F-16XL
Mitsubishi F-2

F-16 AIRCRAFT SPECIFICATIONS


General characteristics

GENERAL DYNAMICS F-16 FIGHTING FALCON

Performance

  • Maximum speed:
    • At sea level: Mach 1.2 (915 mph, 1,470 km/h)
    • At altitude: Mach 2 (1,320 mph, 2,120 km/h) clean configuration
  • Combat radius: 340 mi (295 nmi, 550 km) on a hi-lo-hi mission with four 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs
  • Ferry range: 2,280 nmi (2,620 mi, 4,220 km) with drop tanks
  • Service ceiling: 50,000+ ft (15,240+ m)
  • Rate of climb: 50,000 ft/min (254 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 88.3 lb/ft² (431 kg/m²)
  • Thrust/weight: 1.095 (1.24 with loaded weight & 50% internal fuel)
  • Maximum g-load: +9.0 g

Armament

  • Guns: 1 × 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan 6-barrel Gatling cannon, 511 rounds
  • Hardpoints: 2 × wing-tip Air-to-air missile launch rails, 6 × under-wing, and 3 × under-fuselage pylon (2 of 3 for sensors) stations with a capacity of Up to 17,000 lb (7,700 kg) of stores
  • Rockets:
    • 4 × LAU-61/LAU-68 rocket pods (each with 19/7 × Hydra 70 mm/APKWS rockets, respectively)
    • 4 × LAU-5003 rocket pods (each with 19 × CRV7 70 mm rockets)
    • 4 × LAU-10 rocket pods (each with 4 × Zuni 127 mm rockets)
Weapons Storage and Security System vault in raised position holding a B61 nuclear bomb, adjacent to an F-16. The vault is within a Protective Aircraft Shelter

Weapons Storage and Security System vault in raised position holding a B61 nuclear bomb, adjacent to an F-16. The vault is within a Protective Aircraft Shelter

Avionics

See also


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