The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multi-role fighter built by the United States and used by dozens of countries worldwide.
Since the beginning, the F-16 was designed as a workhorse of low cost, which could carry out various types of missions and be maintained at comparatively low expense. It is much simpler and lighter than its predecessors, and uses aerodynamics and Electronic Avionics (including the first use of flight fly-by-wire, acquiring the nickname "e jet"), which helps it attain excellent performance.
Basically, this sets it apart from predecessors, many of which were not designed to operate in all weather conditions. Unlike other fighters, which had characteristics of specific jobs, such as F-104 Starfighter that was too expensive, and others made for specific operations on aircraft carriers like the F-14 Tomcat.
Although the official name of the popular F-16 is "Fighting Falcon"Is also referred to as"Viper," which was the code name at General Dynamics for the project during the design phase.
The F-16 is small and nimble, with the pilot sitting above the fuselage. This offers the pilot excellent visibility, crucial when dogfighting. To this end, the F-16 has a M61 Vulcan and can be equipped with air-to-air missiles. However, the F-16 was also designed for air-to-ground combat to support to ground forces, if necessary. To this end, the F-16 can be equipped with a wide range of missiles or bombs.
The F-16 comes from a series of U.S. Department of Defense specifications, developed in 1974. Two companies were chosen during the design stage: General Dynamics with the YF-16 design and Northrop with the design of YF-17 Cobra. The F-16 was the chosen prototype, showing superior performance to the assessment committee; The U.S. Navy decided to evolve the design of the YF-17 for F/A-18 and, more recently, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, due to the apparent reliability of twin engines, which is considered vital for Naval operations.
The U.S. Air Force has suspended the use of F-16 A/B variants; only F-16 C/D variants are currently in use (738 aircraft in October 2006 without including National Guard aircraft). The F-16 C/D aircraft is actively used by the U.S. Air Force.
In theory, new orders could still be fulfilled, but in practice, there is little interest in building more, due to the large number of F-16s that are in reserve at AMARC (Over 300 units), while awaiting delivery of the new F-35 Lightning II. Basically, the F-16 has remained in production due to foreign orders.
This demonstrates the success of the program and for an aircraft in active production for thirty years.
The model F-16 are designated by a numerical sequence of blocks. Each block represents significant changes in the capabilities of the aircraft. The goal would be to maintain standardization between aircraft of the same block and implement these changes into already delivered aircraft, upgrading them to the new standard. This is the main factor that enables the F-16 keep fighting for so long, despite the rapid technological evolution.
Initially equipped with the Westinghouse AN/APG-66 radar Pulse Doppler and Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 with 106 kN of power.
Blocks 1/5/10 - They have a few differences between them and the majority of aircraft Blocks 1 and 5 were upgraded to the standard Block 10.
Block 15 - The first major change in the F-16, Block 15 has larger horizontal stabilizers, radar AN/APG updated and enhanced ability to carry weapons. It is the most numerous variant.
Block 15 OCU - The Block 15 OCU (Operational Capability Upgrade) Has updated with inteface turbine digital control, ability to shoot missiles AGM-65, AIM-120 AMRAAM, and AGM-119 Penguin, updates on electronic countermeasures, cockpit, computers and data bus. Aircraft Blocks 10:15 have been updated for this pattern.
Block 20 - Basically, a Block 15 OCU with many capabilities of the F-16 C/D Block 50/52: Using the AGM-45 Shrike, AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-88 HARM and LANTIRN pod. The on-board computers have been significantly upgraded.
The cell of the aircraft has changed significantly, there was an increase in empty weight of 7,390 kg to 8,272 kg.
Block 25 - The F-16 C / D Block 25 entered service in 1984. The aircraft received radar Westinghouse AN/APG-68, is capable of night attack with precision and Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220E with digital control interface.
Block 30/32 - Entered into service in 1987, was the first F-16 to allow the choice of turbine General Electric or Pratt & Whitney. The Blocks ending in 0 are driven by GE, blocks ending in '2 'are powered by Pratt & Whitney. They can use the AGM-45 Shrike and AGM-88 HARM. Was significantly upgraded by the addition of GPS / INS (GPS guidance) and the use of the cocoon Litening (laser guidance) that allow the use of guided bombs like the JDAM and Paveway. This modification is known as F-16C + +.
Block 40/42 - Entered into service in 1988, has the ability to attack at any time increased with the LANTIRN pod, so called Night Falcons.
Block 50/52 - With the first deliveries in 1991, the aircraft is equipped with GPS / INS updated. Can fire missiles and bombs advanced.
Block 50/52 Plus - This version has received upgraded avionics as the ALE-50 decoder and provision for conformal fuel tanks. This release and the Block 60 is the version currently offered by Lockheed in competitions and they were asked by Chile, Singapore, Pakistan, Poland and Greece. Also under study by Taiwan and India.
F-16I - Basically, a Block 50/52 Plus to Israel with 50% of Israeli avionics.
Block 60 - Based on the F-16C/D, has conformal fuel tanks, General Electric F110-132 with 144 kN, Northrop Grumman AN/APG-80 AESA radar, can fire all weapons of Block 50/52 and even the AIM-132 ASRAAM and the AGM-84E SLAM. The Data Bus MIL-STD-1553 was replaced by MIL-STD-1773 fiber optic capacity that offers much higher.
Midlife Update Program
With the departure of the F-16 A/B from the ranks of U.S. Air Force in 1996, most developments would not occur for thisthat cell. However, it was a strategic need to meet several NATO allies who kept the aircraft on active service, as well as providing support to other buyers. To maintain the combat capability of the F-16 A/B equivalent to the F-16 C/D, was developed Midlife Update Program (MLU), initially for Norway, Belgium, Denmark and Netherlands.
Updates occur in packages that allow the constant improvement of the capabilities of hunting in accordance withtechnological developments. Currently, there are now four different packages. The aircraft purchased by Chile of the Netherlands M2 received the package. Portugal acquired M2 packages, but only few aircraft have been updated. The other program participants are completing the upgrade M3 and M4 beginning to analyze.
- Crew: 1
- Length: 49 ft 5 in (15.06 m)
- Wingspan: 32 ft 8 in (9.96 m)
- Height: 16 ft (4.88 m)
- Wing area: 300 ft² (27.87 m²)
- Airfoil: NACA 64A204 root and tip
- Empty weight: 18,900 lb (8,570 kg)
- Loaded weight: 26,500 lb (12,000 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 42,300 lb (19,200 kg)
- Powerplant: 1× F110-GE-100 afterburning turbofan
- Dry thrust: 17,155 lbf (76.3 kN)
- Thrust with afterburner: 28,600 lbf (127 kN)
- Maximum speed:
- At sea level: Mach 1.2 (915 mph, 1,470 km/h)
- At altitude: Mach 2+ (1,500 mph, 2,410 km/h) clean configuration
- Combat radius: 340 mi (295 nm, 550 km) on a hi-lo-hi mission with six 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs
- Ferry range: 2,280 NM (2,620 mi, 4,220 km) with drop tanks
- Service ceiling: 60,000+ ft (18,000+ m)
- Rate of climb: 50,000 ft/min (254 m/s)
- Wing loading: 88.3 lb/ft² (431 kg/m²)
- Thrust/weight: 1.095
- Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61 Vulcan 6-barreled gatling cannon, 511 rounds
- Hardpoints: 2× wing-tip Air-to-air missile launch rails, 6× under-wing & 3× under-fuselage pylon stations holding up to 17,000 lb (7,700 kg) of payload
- 4× LAU-61/LAU-68 rocket pods (each with 19× /7× Hydra 70 mm rockets, respectively) or
- 4× LAU-5003 rocket pods (each with 19× CRV7 70 mm rockets) or
- 4× LAU-10 rocket pods (each with 4× Zuni 127 mm rockets)
- 2× CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition
- 2× CBU-89 Gator mine
- 2× CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon
- Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser capable
- 4× GBU-10 Paveway II
- 6× GBU-12 Paveway II
- 6× Paveway-series laser-guided bombs
- 4× JDAM
- 4× Mark 84 general-purpose bombs
- 8× Mark 83 GP bombs
- 12× Mark 82 GP bombs
- 8× Small Diameter Bomb
- B61 nuclear bomb
- SUU-42A/A Flares/Infrared decoys dispenser pod and chaff pod or
- AN/ALQ-131 & AN/ALQ-184 ECM pods or
- LANTIRN, Lockheed Martin Sniper XR & LITENING targeting pods or
- up to 3× 300/330/370 US gallon Sargent Fletcher drop tanks for ferry flight/extended range/loitering time.
- AN/APG-68 radar
- F-16 Agile Falcon
- F-16 VISTA
- General Dynamics F-16XL
- AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-kuo
- KAI T-50 Golden Eagle
- Mitsubishi F-2
- Chengdu J-10
- Dassault Mirage 2000
- F-15 Eagle
- F/A-18 Hornet
- F-20 Tigershark
- Saab JAS-39 Gripen
- HAL Tejas
- JF-17 Thunder
- Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum
- Northrop YF-17 Cobra
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