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
Production: 5,000
Focus Model: Lockheed Martin / General Dynamics F­16A Fighting Falcon
Crew: 1
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)
Hardpoints: 9
Armament Suite:
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
Cluster Bombs
Laser­Guided Bombs
GPS­Guided 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;
since abandoned.
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