The F16 Fighting Falcon is one of the more successful aircraft designs of the
Cold War. The system was designed in a headtohead competition with the
Northrop YF17 Cobra and successfully defeated it in trails for the United States
Air Force for a lightweight multirole fighter (The YF17 Cobra would later
reappear as the larger and more potent F/A18 Hornet series). The integration
of a powerful single engine, the latest in avionics and computerassisted flight
and various other innovations into the system have made the F16 a success at
home for American forces and abroad in a myriad of other country's inventories.
The system is built around the powerful Pratt & Whitney afterburning engine
capable of 23,830 lbs of thrust. The platform as a whole is so adaptable that it
can field a plethora of weaponry from runwaydenial munitions and airtoair
missiles to antiarmor and antiradar homing missiles. The large clearvision
canopy affords the pilot an unfettered views up, front, rear and sidesdown. The
seat angle is also adjusted to a more extreme 30 degrees to allow for greater
pilot comfort and increased resistance to black outs at increased G speeds.
The platform is designed to the ultimate in aerodynamic standards, with a mid
monoplane wing assembly capable of fitting most of the ordnance underwing in
addition to AIM9 Sidewinders or AIM120 AMRAAM missiles on the wingtips.
Connections at each of the six major wing hardpoints allow for the clustering of
drop bombs and Maverick airtoground missiles. The centerline of the
fuselage, dominated by the identifiable broadmouth intake opening can also
field FLIR equipment and a drop tank. At rear, the fuselage is mounted with a
single rudder control system and two angled elevator assemblies. Trainer and
strikedefined variants also feature twinseating in the cockpit.
Inside the cockpit, the pilot is assisted by an array of digital systems including
flybywire controls. The flight stick is mounted off to the side instead of a
traditional centermounted column and the multifunction displays can provide
the pilot with a myriad of veiwing options. The system is very userfriendly in
terms of flying, tracking and even featuring an automated landing system to
The F16 Fighting Falcon is fielded by many major countries as a frontline
multirole fighter. It has already seen action in countless theaters and was one
of the major spearheads for American forces in the Persian Gulf War versus
Iraq in the early 1990's. Ther versatility of the system provided the United
States and coalition forces with a viable weapon to use with the everchanging
The United States Air Force further pushes the capabilities of the F16 series in
using it for its "Thunderbirds" air show troupe. The highly agile and
maneuverable systems have proven to be quite the showcase in any air show
demonstration, providing the public with a good idea of the power inherent in
such a welldesigned system.
The F16XL was a technology demonstrator looking into the idea of an F16
with a deltawing design approach. The added wing area allowed for increased
drag and lift in addition to an improved weaponscarrying capacity. This system
never went into production but it shows to what lengths the successful airframe
was being pushed to.
Several countries produce the F16 under license (Belgium being one of them)
and the system is primed for a further decade of service thanks in part to
upgrade and modernization programs along with the already robust
capabilities. Mitsubishi produced the F2 fighter for its own selfdefense forces,
highly based on the General Dynamics design yet fielded as a larger and
heavier variant with Japanesedesigned software systems.
To that end, the F16 Fighting Falcon will remain in frontline service with some
forces for some time to come. The system has proven itself to be quite the
potent adversary, either in the airtoground role or the airtoair role, as it has
also proven its reliability under fire. The great care taken into the early design
of this lightweight fighter has paid great dividends to the contracting firms yet
also to many nations depending on a capable aircraft to defend its borders.
The Iraqi Air Force is set to receive 36 F16 Block 52/60 models.
Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: General Dynamics / Lockheed Martin USA
Initial Year of Service: 1979
Focus Model: Lockheed Martin / General Dynamics F16A Fighting Falcon
Length: 49.31ft (15.03m)
Width: 32.81ft (10.00m)
Height: 16.44ft (5.01m)
Weight (Empty): 14,566lbs (6,607kg)
Weight (MTOW): 32,999lbs (14,968kg)
Powerplant: 1 x Pratt & Whitney F100PW200 turbofan generating 14,670lb
drythrust and 23,830lb with full afterburn.
Maximum Speed: 1,521mph (2,448kmh; 1,322kts)
Maximum Range: 339miles (545km)
Service Ceiling: 50,000ft (15,240m; 9.5miles)
RateofClimb: 50,000 feet per minute (15,240m/min)
1 x M61A1 20mm internal cannon
Up to 12,000lbs (5,435kg) of mixed external ordnance including:
AIM9 Sidewinder shortrange airtoair missiles
AIM120 Amraam mediumrange airtoair missiles
AGM65 Maverick airtoground missiles
Penguin AntiShip missiles
Runway Denial Bombs
Conventional Drop Bombs
Jettisonable Fuel Drop Tanks
F16A SingleSeat and Base Production Model; production Blocks 1, 5, 10, 15
(enlarged horizontal stabilizers) and 20.
F16B TwoSeat Variant of F16A production model
F16C SingleSeat Improvement Program Model appearing in 1984; Block 25
with modernized avionics and radar; allweather service; support for AIM7 and
AIM120 AMRAAM; includes Blocks 30/32, 40/42 and 50/52.
F16D TwoSeat Improvement Program Model; Block 25 with modernized
avionics and radar; allweather service; support for AIM7 and AIM120
AMRAAM; includes Blocks 30/32, 40/42 and 50/52.
F16E SingleSeat; based on F16C Block 50/52; improved radar and avionics;
uprated General Electric turbofan engine; UAE export model
F16F TwoSeat; based on F16D Block 50/52; improved radar and avionics;
uprated General Electric turbofan engine; UAE export model
F16N 22 produced for the US Navy based on the F16C model series.
TF16N 4 produced for the US Navy based on the F16D model series.
F16XL DeltaWing Technology Demonstrator based on the F16A.
F2 Mitsubishiproduced multirole fighter based on the General Dynamics F
16 for Japanese SelfDefense Forces; dimensionally larger than American F16.
F16I "Sufa" (Storm) Israeli export order delivered in dualseat fighter
configuration; advanced development of the F16 fighter series; based on the
F16D model series.
F16IN Proposed MRCA competition development based on F16E/F Block 60;
F16IQ Projected Iraqi Export Model; 18 marked for possible sale
F16V "Viper" Proposed modernized and improved F16 variant in
development with Lockheed.
Operators: Belgium; Denmark; Egypt; Indonesia; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Netherlands;
Norway; Pakistan; Portugal; Singapore; Taiwan; Thailand; United States; United
Arab Emirates; Venuzuela