The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter air-craft. Highly maneuverable, it is designed for air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. For air combat, the F-16's maneuverability and combat radius (distance it can fly to enter air combat, fight, and return} exceed that of all current Warsaw Pact fighter aircraft. In an air-to-surface mission, the F-16 can fly more than 500 miles, fire its weapons with superior accuracy, and return to its starting point.
It has excellent self defense. Because the F-16 is small and has a smokeless engine, it is difficult to detect, either visually or with radar. Its 360-degree threat warning system reduces the pos-sibility of the pilot being caught by surprise. The aircraft's remark-able maneuverability makes it a difficult target for enemy aircraft and surface-to-air missiles.
The design of the F-16 employs advanced aerospace science and proven systems from other aircraft, including the F-15 and the F-111. The light weight of the fuselage is achieved without reducing its Strength. The F-16 can withstand nine Gs with internal fuel tanks filled. The blended-body-and-wing design increases lift at high angles of attack, decreases drag, and adds internal space for fuel and equipment. The wings have leading and trailing edge flaps that automatically change their contour to suit the angle of attack or flight and speed of the aircraft, giving the plane maximum lift-to-drag ratio and minimum buffet through all flight modes.
The cockpit and its bubble canopy give the pilot almost unlimited visibility. Forward and upward vision are unobstructed, and side and rear vision improved. Special adjustments in the pilot's seat and in flight controls enhance the pilot's ability to withstand G forces.
The F-16 is very effective in both air-to-air and air-to-surface missions. The fire control system--including radar, head-up display, and pilot controls--eliminates any need for the pilot to look away from the target. Using the throttle, flight control stick, and ordnance controls the pilot has quick reaction, fingertip control of displays and weapons. The F-16 has all-weather air-to-surface and air-to-air attack capability. It can track Iow-flying targets under ground clutter conditions. The plane has superior accuracy in weapons delivery under visual conditions and is second only to the F-111 in blind bombing conditions.
The F-leA is the single-seat model of this aircraft. It first flew in December 1976. The first operational F-16A was delivered in January 1979 to the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base; Utah. The wing trains U.S. and foreign F-16 pilots. The F-16B is the two-seat model. The bubble canopy is extended to accom-modate the second cockpit area.
Primary function: fighter, attack
Prime contractor: General Dynamics Corp.
Power plant/manufacturer: one Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-100 turbofan engine with afterburner
Thrust: 25,000 pounds
Dimensions: wingspan 32 feet 8 inches, length 49 feet 5 inches, height 16 feet
Speed: more than Mach 2
Ceiling: above 50,000 feet
Range: more than 2,000 miles ferry range
Crew: F-leA--one--pilot, F-16B-two--pilot, weapons system operator
Armament: one M-61A1 20mm multi-barrel cannon with 500 rounds; external stations can carry up to six AIM-9 infrared mis-siles, conventional air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions, and electronic countermeasure pods
Maximum takeoff weight: 35,400 pounds