Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft
Using Service (US):
Air Force (USAF)
No more new aircraft will be purchased.
The General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin)
F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single seat, fixed wing, multi-role
fighter aircraft powered by a single Pratt & Whitney
turbofan engine. On the F-16, which is a 4th generation fighter aircraft, advanced technology features
include a blended wing body, reduced static margin, and fly-by-wire flight control.
The F-16C/D is equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-68 multi-mode fire control radar. However, new built F-16E/F Block 60 aircraft (not in U.S. inventory) are equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-80 AESA Radar. U.S. Air Force F-16C/D aircraft can be equipped with the LANTIRN targeting system. The Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) system from Lockheed Martin allows the F-16 to fly at low altitudes, at night and in any weather conditions, to attack ground targets. The LANTIRN system gives the F-16 extra accuracy for weapons delivery and consists of two pods (AN/AAQ-13 navigation pod + AN/AAQ-14 targeting pod) attached to the exterior of the aircraft. Also, the F-16 can be equipped with the AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING Targeting Pod from Northrop Grumman and UTC Aerospace Systems' (UTAS) DB-110 Reconnaissance Pod.
On April 3, 2012, the 4,500th F-16, an F-16C Block 52, rolled off the assembly line in Forth Worth, TX. To date, more than 4,550 F-16s have been produced and delivered to 28 countries (as of October 2015). The F-16 is a highly maneuverable aircraft which has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. The F-16 provides a low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and its allies.
The F-16A (single-seat) first flew on December 8, 1976 and the first production F-16 was accepted by the Air Force in August 1978. The F-16B (two-seat) has tandem cockpits that are about the same size as the one in the A model. The bubble canopy extends to cover the second cockpit. To make room for the second cockpit, the forward fuselage fuel tank and avionics growth space were reduced. For training purposes, the forward cockpit is used by a student pilot with an instructor pilot in the rear cockpit. All aircraft delivered since November 1981 are F-16C/D variants. They have built-in structural and wiring provisions and systems architecture that permit expansion of the multi-role flexibility to perform precision strike, night attack and beyond-visual-range interception missions. The F-16C (single seat) and F-16D (two-seat) Fighting Falcons incorporate the latest cockpit control and display technology. All active, Air National Guard (ANG) and Air Force Reserve (AFR) units have been converted to the F-16C/D configurations.
As of September 2014, there were a total of 971 F-16s (814 C-models and 157 D-models) in the U.S. Air Force inventory of which 339 are assigned to ANG units and 57 to AFR units. According to F-16.net, a total of 2,230 F-16s were delivered to the U.S. Air Force (664 F-16A, 122 F-16B, 1,238 F-16C, and 206 F-16D).
The F-16 program traces its history back to the Advanced Day Fighter requirement and later the Light Weight Fighter (LWF) program, and the Air Combat Fighter (ACF) program. On January 13, 1975, the Air Force selected the General Dynamics YF-16 as the winner of the ACF contest. The YF-16 was selected over the Northrop (now Northrop Grumman) YF-17. Initially, five manufacturers had submitted proposals to build the LWF: Boeing, Northrop, General Dynamics, Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV), and Lockheed. In 1993, General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business, which included the F-16 production center and final assembly line in Fort Worth, TX, to Lockheed Corporation (now Lockheed Martin). The F-16 was built under an international agreement creating a consortium between the U.S. and the four NATO countries of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway. These countries jointly produced (with the United States) an initial 348 F-16 fighters for their respective air forces. The consortium's F-16s were assembled from components manufactured in all five countries, while final airframe assembly lines were located in Belgium and the Netherlands. Belgium also provided final assembly of the Pratt & Whitney F100 engine used in the European F-16s.
The F-16 has played a major role in recent conflicts, flying thousands of sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
At the 2012 Singapore Airshow, Lockheed Martin announced its decision to offer F-16 customers a new variant dubbed
the F-16V (V for Viper). The Viper program will include upgrades such as Northrop Grumman's
AN/APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR),
a new cockpit center pedestal display, a modernized mission computer, a high-capacity Ethernet data bus,
and several other mission systems enhancements. The F-16V will satisfy emerging customer requirements
and prepare the aircraft to better interoperate with fifth-generation fighters
like the F-22
and the F-35.
The F-16V upgrade program is applicable for both U.S. Air Force and international customers, however, the program does not
include the F-16E/F Block 60, as it is already equipped with the Northrop Grumman
AN/APG-80 AESA Radar.
On October 16, 2015, Lockheed Martin successfully completed the maiden flight of the F-16V.
The F-16 has eleven weapon stations (hardpoints) and is capable of carrying a wide range of ordnance. The aircraft is equipped with an M61-A1 Vulcan 20mm six-barreled gatling gun and carries AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles (AIM-9X Sidewinder projected), AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-7 Sparrow, AGM-88 HARM, AGM-154 JSOW, AGM-158 JASSM, GBU-31/38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs as well as several other types of ordnance. For more detail, see specifications below.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a light weight, high performance, multi-role fighter capable of performing a broad spectrum of tactical air warfare tasks at affordable cost well into the 21st century. F-16 aircraft provide a high-performance air-to-air and air-to-surface attack capability.
FY 15 provides $19.1 million for F-16 aircraft modifications, support equipment and spares. The primary modification in FY 2015 is the AETC MTD UPGRADES-FIELD TRAINING DETACHMENTS. FY 15 also provides $154.1 million for RDT&E.
FY 16 provides $32.6 million for F-16 aircraft modifications, support equipment and spares.
The primary modifications in FY 2016 are the MIDS-JTRS, AETC MTD UPGRADES-FIELD TRAINING DETACHMENTS,
and the F-16 TRAINING SYSTEMS. FY 16 also provides $178.6 million for RDT&E.
For more information, click to see the FY 2016 USAF F-16 Modifications Budget.
Sources: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Lockheed Martin Corp.,
Northrop Grumman Corp., and F-16.net.
Last Update: October 26, 2015.
By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard Balle /// (email@example.com)
Lockheed Martin: F-16 Fighting Falcon
Northrop Grumman: AN/APG-68 Radar System
Northrop Grumman: AN/APG-80 AESA Radar (F-16E/F)
YouTube: F-16 Fighting Falcon | YouTube
Fact Sheet: Lockheed Martin | F-16 Fighting Falcon
F-16 U.S. Defense Budget Charts:
Primary Function: Multi-role fighter