General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

Israel Defence Force names: F-16C Barak (Lightning), F-16D Brakeet (Thunderbolt) and F-16I Suefa (Storm)
Turkish Air Force name: Savasan Sahin (Fighting Falcon)
Ubited Arab Emirates Air Force name: Desert Falcon

TYPE: Multirole fighter.

PROGRAMME: Emerged from General Dynamics YF-16 of US Air Force Lightweight Fighter prototype programme in 1972; first flight of prototype YF-16 (72-01567) 2 February 1974; first flight of second prototype (72-01568) 9 May 1974; selected for full-scale development (FSD) 13 January 1975; day fighter requirement extended to add air-to-ground capability with multimode radar and all-weather navigation; production of FSD aircraft began July 1975; first flight of FSD aircraft 8 December 1976. F-16 achieved 5 millionth flying hour late in 1993; 10 millionth flying hour passed in March 2002. 4,000th aircraft delivered (to Egyptian Air Force) on 28 April 2000; total of 4,090 delivered as at 1 August 2003; 71 scheduled to be handed over in 2003, including 9 from KAI.
Total of 234 F-16s ordered in 2000, increasing sales to 4,285 as of 1 january 2001; Israeli and Greek decisions to exercise options on additional F-16s raised total sales to 4,347 at end of 2001. Further orders placed by Chile (10 aircraft) and Oman (12) in 2002, increased sales to 4,369 by end of 2002; 48 aircraft to be acquired by Poland, raising total sales to 4,417 at start of 2003.

CURRENT VERSIONS: F-16A: First version for air-to-air and air-to-ground missions; not currently in production, but aircraft in storage available for export customers.
F-16B: Standard tandem two-seat version of F-16A; fully operational both cockpits; fuselage length unaltered; reduced fuel.
F-16C/D: Single-seatv and two-seat USAF Multinational Staged Improvement Program (MSIP) aircraft respectively, implemented February 1980. MSIP expands growth capability to allow for precision ground attack and DVR missiles, and all-weather, night and day missions; Stage I applied to Block 15 F-16A/Bs delivered from November 1981; Stage II applied to Block 25 F-16C/Ds from July 1984 includes core avionics, cockpit and airframe changes. Block 25 aircraft originally delivered with F100-PW-200 engine, but all surviving examples now have F100-PW-220E following retrofit, as well as other improvements as detailed under Stage III of MSIP. Stage III involved installation of systems as they became available, beginning 1988 and extending to Block 50/52, including selected retrofits back to Block 25. Changes include Northrop Grumman AN/APG-68 multimode radar with improved range, resolution, more operating modes and better ECCM than AN/APG-66; advanced cockpit with multifunction displays and upfront controls, BAE Systems wide-angle HUD, Fairchild mission data transfer equipment and radar altimeter; expanded base of fin giving space for proposed later fitment of AN/ALQ-165 Airborne Self-Protection Jamming system (since cancelled, though now being installed in Korean aircraft); increased electrical power and cooling capacity; structural provision for increased take-off weight and manoeuvring limits; and smart weapons such as AIM-120A AMRAAM and AGM-65D IR Maverick.
Common engine bay introduced at Block 30/32 (FMS deliveries from December 1985 and USAF deliveries from July 1986) to allow fitting of either P&W F100-PW-220 (Block 32) or GE F110-GE-100 (Block 30) Alternate Fighter Engine. Other changes include computer memory expansion and seal-bonded fuselage fuel tanks. First USAF wing to use F-16C/Ds with F110 engines was 86th TFW at Ramstein AB, Germany, from October 1986. Additions in 1987 included voice message unit, doubled chaff/flare capacity, repositioning of RWR antennas to provide bette coverage in forward hemisphere, Shrike anti-radiation missiles (from August 1997), crash survivable flight data recorder and modular common inlet duct ('large-mouth') allowing full thrust from F110 at low airspeeds.
Software upgraded for full Level IV multitarget compatibility with AMRAAM early 1988. Industry sponsored development of radar missile capability for several air forces resulted in firing of AIM-7F and AIM-7M missiles from F-16C in May 1988; capability introduced mid-1991; missiles guided using pulse Doppler illumination while tracking targets in a high PRF mode of the AN/APG-68 radar.
Block 40/42 Night Falcon (deliveries from December 1988) upgrades include AN/APG-68(V)1 radar allowing 100 hour operation before maintenance, full compatibility with Lockheed Martin low-altitude navigation and targeting infra-red for night (LANTIRN) pods, four-channel digital flight control system, expanded capacity core computers, diffractive optics HUD, enhanced envelope gunsight, GPS, improved leading-edge flap drive system, improved cockpit ergonomics, high gross weight landing gear, structural strengthening, increased performance battery and provision for improved EW equipment, including advanced interference blanker. LANTIRN targeting pod gives day/night standoff target identification, automatic target handoff multiple launch of Mavericks, autonomous laser-guided bomb delivery and precision air-to-ground laser ranging. LANTIRN navigation pod provides real-world IR view through HUD for night flight plus automatic/manual terrain following with dedicated radar sensor. Combat Edge pressure breathing system installed 1991 for higher pilot g tolerance.
A total of 39 Block 40 F-16C/Ds of the 31st FW was involved in a quick response capability (QRC) modification effort, known as 'Sure Strike', to install Improved Data Modem (IDM) equipment. Work was undertaken by a joint USAF/LMTAS team at Aviano AB, Italy, and was completed in December 1995, these being the first Block 40 aircraft to receive the IDM which is standard equipment on current production Block 50 F-16s. In mid-1998, a demonstration programme was conducted to adapt existing IDM with Lockheed Martin kit to provide 'Gold Strike' system capable of two-way transmission of digitised video imagery of targets and thus enhance pilot's situational awareness.
First Block 40 F-16C/Ds issued in late 1990 to 363rd FW (Shaw AFB, South Carolina); first LANTIRN pods to 36th FS/51st FW at Osan, South Korea, in 1992. USAF Block 40/42 F-16Cs unofficially designated F-16CG. Following retirement of F-111F, Block 40/42 F-16Cs and F-16Ds with LANTIRN comprise more than 50 per cent of USAF night/precision strike force. All USAF F-16Cs and F-16Ds to receive FLIR targeting pod capability.
Block 50/52 (deliveries began with F-16C 90-0801 in October 1991 for operational testing) upgrades include F110-GE-129 and F100-PW-229 increased performance engines (IPE), AN/APG-68(V)5 radar with advanced programmable signal processor employing VHSIC technology, Have Quick IIA UHF radio and AN/ALR-56M advanced RWR. Changes initiated at Block 50D/52D in 1993 include full integration of HARM antiradiation missiles via HARM aircraft launcher interface computer (ALIC), improved data modem (IDM), upgraded programmable display generator with growth potential for colour and map, expanded data transfer cartridge, ring laser INS (Honeywell and Litton units both used) and improved VHF/FM antenna. AN/ALE-47 advanced chaff/flare dispenser fitted to all FMS Block 50 aircraft delivered after mid-1996 and incorporated as standard on USAF aircraft with effect from FY97 purchase; also retrofitted to earlier USAF Block 40/50 aircraft.
First Block 50D/52D (91-0360) delivered to USAF on 7 May 1993; optimised for defence suppression missions, having software for horizontal situation display on existing two MFDs and provision for one of 112 HARM (AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) targeting systems ordered by USAF; sensor in pod on starboard side of engine inlet; AN/ASQ-213 HARM targeting system (HTS) has capability similar to F-4G 'Wild Weasel' which it replaced in SEAD role. USAF has a current programme to raise HARM targeting system inventory to 150 pods and is incorporating an upgrade that features software and hardware improvements enabling more targets to be tracked with enhanced ambiguity resolution and speedier reaction time.
Deliveries of Block 50/52 began to 4th FS of 388th FW at Hill AFB, Utah, from October 1992; others to 52nd FW at Spangdahlem, Germany, replacing Block 30 aircraft from (first delivery) 20 February 1993. Block 50D/52D aircraft initially to 309th FS (now 79th FS) of 363rd (now 20th) FW at Shaw AFB, South Carolina; followed by 23rd FS/52nd FW at Spangdahlem, Germany, from 14 January 1994, then squadrons at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, and Misawa, Japan. Production for USAF was due to terminate with FY94 batch, but six additional F-16Cs funded in each of FY96 and FY97, plus three in FY98, one in FY99, 10 in FY00 and four in FY01; FY96 and subsequent aircraft to Block 50 standard. F-16s delivered from mid-2000 (FY97 and later) to improved configuration, incorporating modular mission computer by Raytheon (replacing three core avionics processors) that was developed for F-16A/B MLU programme, Honeywell colour liquid crystal multifunction displays (replacing monochrome CRT MFDs), Honeywell colour programmable display generator, Teac colour airborne videotape recorder, colour cockpit TV sensor and Litton onboard oxygen generating system (OBOGS). FY00 and subsequent aircraft have AN/APX-113 and associated avionics improvements. Majority of FY00 and FY01 aircraft delivered to USAF between April and December 2002, but final Block 50 will receive full CCIP upgrade before being handed over in December 2004. USAF Block 50/52 F-16Cs unofficially designated F-16CJ.
First Samsung-assembled F-16C Block 52D rolled out in South Korea on 7 November 1995. First flight of initial TAI-built F-16C Block 50D in late May 1996, with delivery to Turkish Air Force following on 29 July; last TAI-produced F-16 delivered October 1999. First Block 50D delivered to Greece 29 January 1997. First Block 52D delivered to Singapore 30 January 1998. First production lease (PL) Block 52D aircraft for Singapore was delivered 28 May 1998; this was under terms of commercial contract, with delivery achieved in less than 24 months from placing of order.
First delivery of F-16C Block 52 in Korea Fighter Program II in June 2003; aircraft produced under license by KAI.
Advanced Block 50/52: Latest production version, originally referred to as Block 50+/52+. Basic configuration includes upgraded AN/APG-68(V)9 radar with 30 per cent greater air-to-air detection range and synthetic apertute radar (SAR) mode for high-resolution mapping and target detection/recognition. Is also compatible with latest FLIR navigation and targeting pod systems and has upgrated core avionics, including an improved modular mission computer, two 102 mm (4 in) colour cockpit displays, cockpit and exterior lighting compatible with night vision goggles, helmet-mounted cueing system, a digital terrain system, IFF interrogator/transponder, high off-boresight missile compatibility. Link 16 datalink and OBOGS. Available with a choice of internal electronic countermeasures equipment and able to take various customer-unique systems. Maximum take-off gross weight increased to 21,772 kg (48,000 lb). Can be fitted with new, low-drag, conformal fuel tanks, with combined capacity of 1,705 litres (450 US gallons; 375 Imp gallons). Additional fuel in optional 2,271 litre (600 US gallon; 500 Imp gallon) auxiliary wing tanks. Two-seat aircraft have a rear cockpit configured for either a weapon system operator or instructor pilot (converted with a single switch), plus a dorsal avionics compartment that accommodates all of the systems of the single-seat aircraft, plus additional chaff/flare dispensers and specialised mission equipment.
First customer for this enhanced version was Greece which revealed intention on 30 April 1999 to buy as many as 70 Block 52s. Contract subsequently placed for 50 aircraft, with fixed price option for up to 10 more that was converted to firm order on 14 September 2001. Aircraft deliveries began 2 April 2003 with handover of first five aircraft (three F-16C and two F-16D) at Fort Worth; both F-16Ds and one F-16C initially to be retained in USA for training and test purposes. Other customers for Advanced Block 50/52 aircraft are Chile (Block 50), Oman (Block 50) and Poland (Block 52); Israel is also to acquire Advanced Block 52 aircraft.
'GF-16C': Unofficial designation allocated to non-flying aircraft in use at Sheppard AFB for instructional purposes from 1993.
USAF F-16C/D Retrofit Programmes: F-16 originally designed to fly 8,000 hours based on specified usage spectrum, but actual usage has in most cases been more severe, with aircraft regularly flying at higher operational weights than originally predicted. USAF F-16C/D aircraft have undergone structural upgrade programme known as 'Falcon UP', but this is being superseded by 'Falcon STAR' (structural augmentation roadmap). Modifications accomplished under these two programmes will ensure that aircraft achieve 8,000 hour service life, without depot inspection. Many changes incorporated in production aircraft, but older F-16 models will need more extensive modification. USAF 'Falcon STAR' retrofit kit proofing is being conducted in 2003, with pilot production and installation to start in 2004. At least 10 other countries are involved in this programme.
ANG/AFRC Block 25/30/32 F-16C/Ds subject to combat upgrade plan integration details (CUPID) which completed by mid-2003, CUPID brought approximately 620 older F-16s to a standard close to that of the Block 50/52 aircraft. Among the improvements incorporated are situation awareness datalink (SADL), improved airborne videotape recorder, colour camera, initial NVG-compatible cockpit lighting, LANTRIN and Rafael Litening II FLIR targeting pod capability, AN/ALQ-213 countermeasures control system and provisions for GPS/laser gyro INS. Future improvements include expanded central computer, joint helmet-mounted cueing system, AIM-9X missile, follow-on NVIS capability, PIDS-3 pylon upgrade for smart weapon compatibility, ACES II ejection seat improvements, enhanced main battery and software upgrades.
Block 40/42 F-16C/Ds are currently being upgraded to include NVG compatibility, MD-1295/A improved data modem, digital terrain system, AN/ALE-47 chaff dispenser, towed decoy and smart weapons compatibility (including the GBU-27, JDAM, JSOW and WCMD). Block 50/52 F-16C/Ds already have these capabilities. Three squadrons of ANG Block 42 aircraft currently receiving F100-PW-229 engine as replacement for original F100-PW-220; first engines installed in mid-2002 and subsequently deployed to Middle East.
In June 1998, USAF launched an upgrade effort known as common configuration implementation program (CCIP), which is intended to provide common hardware and software capability to 648 Block 40/42/50/52 aircraft. CCIP ia a multiphase effort and is being implemented in stages, based on availability of subsystems. Work is being undertaken at the Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill AFB, Utah, to where the first eight modification kits were shipped on 29 June 2001; these Phase 1 kits include the modular mission computer and colour MFDs applicable to 107 older aircraft of the Block 50/52 versions. The first aircraft was completed ahead of schedule and delivered to the 20th FW on 11 January 2002.
Phase 1A Block 50/52 kits include the AN/APX-113 combined electronic interrogator/transponder which gives autonomous BVR intercept capability. These aircraft also capable of alternative carriage of an advanced Lockheed Martin Sniper XR FLIR targeting pod in addition to the HARM targeting system pod. The first of 251 aircraft to receive this capability was delivered in October 2002; first operational unit to get Phase 1A aircraft is 389th Fighter Squadron at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho.
Phase 2, fielded in July 2003, adds Link 16 multifunctional information distribution system (MIDS) datalink, the Vision Systems International joint helmet-mounted cueing system (JHMCS) and an electronic horizontal situation indicator to 251 Block 50/52 aircraft. Starting in 2005, total of 397 Block 40/42 Fighting Falcons are due to receive the full package of modifications detailed above in Phase 3 of CCIP upgrade.
Block 60: Future version, currently in development, and was expected to be rolled out in late 2003. Basic Block 60 has Northrop Grumman AN/APG-80 multimode radar with active electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna, offering numerous advantages, including mode interleaving. This version also has internal Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-32 FLIR navigation and targeting system, plus advanced cockpit layout, with three 127 x 178 mm (5 x 7 in) colour liquid crystal displays having picture-in-picture and moving map capability. New core avionics suite based on advanced mission computer utilising commercial hardware and software and a high-speed fibre optic databus. Other improvements include digital fuel management system, higher-capacity environmental control system, new air data system (eliminating probe on tip of nose) and expanded digital flight control system with additional automatic modes, such as terrain following. Specialised equipment includes Northrop Grumman Falcon Edge advanced internal ECM system and Thales secure radio and datalink. Block 60 power plant is General Electric F110-GE-132 engine in the 144.65 kN (32,000 lb st) class. high-capacity tyres and brakes, allowing maximum take-off gross weight to rise to 22,679 kg (50,000 lb). Many of the features introduced by Advanced Block 50/52 aircraft also being adopted as standard on the Block 60, including conformal fuel tanks.
United Arab Emirates announced selection of the F-16 Block 60 Desert Falcon on 12 May 1998, although signature of contract delayed until first quarter of 2000. Total of 80 aircraft will be delivered between 2004 and 2007. Rollout of the first Block 60 F-16 expected in late 2003, with first three two-seaters to be used for flight testing. Unofficial designation F-16F understood to apply to these three aircraft in order to comply with FAA regulations.
Initial deliveries to UAE will be to so-called Lot 1 configuration which marries Block 50 capability to new EW suite, advanced cockpit and new radar. Lot 2 will become available in early 2006 and feature advanced EW modes as well as terrain-following radar capability and additional weaponry; definitive Lot 3 version in 2007 will include BAE Systems TERPROM digital terrain aviodance and navigation system and, possibly, a helmet-mounted cueing system.
NF-16D: Variable stability in-flight simulator test aircraft (VISTA) modified from Block 30 F-16D (86-0048) ordered December 1988 to replace NT-33A testbed. Features include Calspan variable stability flight control system, fully programmable cockpit controls and displays, additional computer suite, permanent flight test data recording system, variable feel centrestick and sidestick in front cockpit, with latter also available for use in F-16 mode; safety pilot in rear cockpit. Internal gun, RWR and chaff/flare equipment removed, providing space for Phase II and III growth including additional computer, reprogrammable display generator and customer hardware allowance. Dorsal avionics compartment in bulged spine. Aircraft transferred to USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB in 2001 to support TPS missions and various research and development activities. Aircraft participated in USAF Auto Air Collision Avoidance System demonstration in mid-2003.
F-16I: Two-seat version, basically similar to Advanced Block 52, for Israel, featuring Pratt & Whitney F-100 PW-229 engine, conformal fuel tanks and SAR. Will incorporate Northrop Grumman AN/APG-68(V)9 radar and significant amount of Israeli avionics, including EW suite, cockpit displays and helmet-mounted sight and advanced self-protection system (ASPS). EW suite, by Elisra, will include radar and missile approach warning systems plus jammers, while Elbit Systems to provide head-up display system, central mission computer, advanced display processor, DASH IV display and sight helmet system and stores management systems. RADA teamed with Smiths Aerospace to supply data acquisition system; Elop to provide HUD unit. Aircraft also to utilise Rafael Litening II targeting pod. total of 50 initially purchased in US$2.5 billion deal, with delivery to begin in 2003 and continue until 2008; further 60 aircraft on option, of which 52 subsequently converted to firm order on 19 December 2001. First aircraft completed in June 2003, thereafter being modified to accommodate flight test instrumentation.
F-16N: US Navy supersonic adversary aircraft (SAA) modified from F-16C/D Block 30. Four of 26 were two-seat TF-16N. Entire fleet retired during 1994-95.
FS-X and TFS-X: F-16 design selected by Japan Defence Agency as basis for its FS-X (now F-2) requirement 19 October 1987.
F-16 Recce: Following trials with a prototype system in mid-1995, an LMTAS-designed reconnaissance pod for the US Air National Guard was flown for the first time on 29 September 1995 and subsequently tested on an F-16C (86-227) of the 149th Fighter Squadron, Virginia ANG. Four pods were built and then deployed with the 149th FS to Aviano AB, Italy, in May 1996 for operational validation in support of NATO missions over Bosnia. This successful trial culminated in decision to procure a total of 20 podded systems for service with F-16C Block 30 aircraft of five ANG squadrons, each of which will have four pods and one ground exploitation system. The core of the programme, known as the BAE Systems Theater Airborne Reconnaissance System (TARS), is the Per Udsen MRP with USAF-supplied KS-87 cameras incorporating E-O video back instead of wet film; the Lockheed Martin Fairchild Systems medium-altitude E-O (MAEO) camera; an Ampex DCRsi-240 digital data recorder and a TERMA Elektronik cockpit control device. The TARS pods were delivered in 1999 and certified for operational use by the F-16 in first half of 2000. Egypt ordered six TARS pods and two ground stations at beginning of 2003.
Elta EL/M-2060P pod also cleared for use by F-16 in 1999. System is contained in standard 300 US gallon drop tank and comprises autonomous, all-weather, day and night high-resolution reconnaissance synthetic aperture radar sensor with ability to transmit imagery to ground station via bidirectional datalink.
Most F-16s delivered since the early 1990s have provisions for a reconnaissance pod. Final 20 aircraft for South Korea (15 F-16C and 5 F-16D) will be configured for reconnaissance mission, although decision on which system to use is not expected to be made until 2004; delivery of these aircraft began in mid-2003.
F-16ES: Enhanced Strategic two-seat, long-range interdictor F-16 proposal; now defunct but provided basis for Advanced Block 50/52 and Israeli F-16I.
F-16U: Proposed two-seat version unsuccessfully offered to United Arab Emirates.
F-16 'Falcon 2000': Private venture design of early 1990s, similar to F-16U, which Lockheed Martin aimed at USAF as a follow-on to the F-16 before introduction of JSF. Also known as the F-16X; now defunct.



 

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