F-16 Fighting Falcon

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The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a small, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations.

The F-16A first flew in December 1976. The first operational F-16A was delivered to the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah in January 1979.

In designing the aircraft, proven reliable systems from other aircraft such as the F-15 and F-111 were selected to implement in the F-16. These systems were combined to simplify the airplane and reduce its size, purchase price, maintenance costs and weight. With a full load of internal fuel, the F-16 can withstand up to nine G's, or, nine times the force of gravity.

In an air combat role, the F-16's maneuverability and combat radius surpass that of all potential threat fighter aircraft. The F-16 can locate targets in all weather conditions and detect low flying aircraft in radar ground clutter.

The cockpit gives the pilot unobstructed forward and upward vision, and greatly improves vision over the side and to the rear. The pilot has superb control of the F-16 through its "fly-by-wire" system. For easy and accurate control of the aircraft during high G-force combat maneuvers, a side stick controller is used instead of the conventional center-mounted stick.

All F-16s delivered since November 1981 have built-in structural and wiring provisions and systems architecture. This improvement program led to the F-16C and F-16D aircraft, and incorporate the latest cockpit control and display technology. All active units and many Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units have converted to the C and D models.

F-16 Specifications
Primary FunctionMulti-role fighter
ContractorLockheed Martin Corporation (General Dynamics)
Power PlantF-16C/D: one Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-200/220/229 or General Electric F110-GE-100/129
ThrustF-16C/D, 27,000 pounds(12,150 kilograms)
Length49 feet, 5 inches (14.8 meters)
Height16 feet (4.8 meters)
Wingspan32 feet, 8 inches (9.8 meters)
Speed1,500 mph (Mach 2 at altitude)
CeilingAbove 50,000 feet (15 kilometers)
Maximum Takeoff Weight37,500 pounds (16,875 kilograms)
RangeMore than 2,000 miles ferry range (1,740 nautical miles)
ArmamentOne M-61A1 20mm multi-barrel cannon with 500 rounds; external stations can carry up to six air-to-air missiles, conventional air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions and electronic countermeasure pods
CrewF-16C: one; F-16D: one or two
Date DeployedJanuary 1979
Unit CostF-16C/D, $20+ million
InventoryActive force, 444; Air National Guard, 305; Reserve, 60


All Information gathered from Air Force Link.