F-16 Fighting Falcon

F-16 Fighting Falcon

General Dynamics built two YF-16s. The purpose was for simplified maintenance, with easily removable access panels, and several built in test systems were installed to pinpoint inoperative components. The first YF-16 was finished in a Red/White/Blue camoflage scheme and the second was finished in a cloud white and light blue camoflage.

The first man to fly the YF-16 was Phil Oestricher, a General Dynamics test pilot. The two prototypes made many test flghts for speed, manuvarability, and mid-air refueling. They also tested what weapons should be carried by the YF-16. Typically, sidewinders were selected.

In 1975, after the many successful tests of the YF-16, General Dynamics was awarded a $417.9 million fixed price incentive contract for the production of 15 F-16s - Eleven single seat F-16As and four two-seater F-16Bs. A cost of $4.6 million per plane was projected for each of the 650 production aircraft ordered for the USAF. Then other countries started expressing intrest in the F-16 including Canada, Australia, Korea, Greece, Egypt and Turkey.

Weapons

The F-16 was originally designed as an air-to-air fighter, so it was only intended to carry a gun and sidewinder AAMs. The F-16's design was found to be adaptable to the more advanced air-to-air weapons and a wide variety of air-to-ground weapons.

It has retained the M-61A1 Vulcan 20mm cannon with double ended linkless feed system having a capasity of 500 rounds and a firing rate of 6,000 rounds per minute. There are also provisions for external stores including: nine store stations for launchers, and pylons to attach missles, feul tanks, bombs, electronic countermeasures (ECM) pods, dispensers, or even a nuclear device. In it's present form, the F-16 is one of the most potent air-to-air combat fighters ever flown. Also introduced to to F-16 was the APG-66 Radar system and the AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) which gives the pilot beyond visual range capabilities. For it's small size, the F-16 packs a powerful punch in the air-to-ground role. With the same payload, the F-16 has more than twice the range as the F-4 Phantom. 12,000 pounds can be carried by the F-16 with full internal fuel.

Switches on the throttle, side-stick contraller, or radar control panel allow the pilot to change radar modes quickly without having to take his eyes off of the target so that he can maneuvar into firing position.

F-16 Specifications

Power Plant:

One Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 turbofan rated at 23,840lb st (10809 kph) with full afterburning and approximately 15,000lb st (6805 kgp) without augmentation. Fuel capacity, 1,072 US gallons (40601) in F-16A, 889-8 US gallons (33681) in F-16B, plus provision for 300 US gallons (11361) tank on fuselage center line and two 370 US gallons (14001) tanks under wings.

Performance:

Max speed (with wing-tip sidewinders), 1,350 mph (2170 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12190m) or Mach=2.05, and 915 mph (1472 km/h) at sea level or Mach=1.2; tactical radius (interdiction mission HI-LO-HI on internal fuel with six 500-lb (227-kg) MK 82 bombs), 340 mls (550 km).

Weights:

Operational empty, 14,567 lb (6613 kg); max take-off (air-to-air missions, wing-tip missile only), 23,300 lb (10570 kg); max take-off (interdiction mission), 35,400 lb (16060 kg) up to Block 20 and 37,500 lb (17010 kg) for Block 25 aircraft.

Dimensions:

Span, 31 ft 0 in (9.45 m) without missile, 32 ft 10 in (10.01 m) over wing-tip missiles; overall length (excluding nose probe), 47 ft 7.75 in (14.52 m); height 16 ft 5.5 in (5.01 m); aspect ratio, 3-0:1; dihedral, nil; undercarriage track, 7 ft 9 in (2.36 m).

Armament:

One General Electric M61A-1 Vulcan 20-mm multi-barrel gun port wing/fuselage fairing, with 515 rounds. Up to 12,000 lb (5443 kg) of external ordnance on nine stations, including wing-tip AAMs.