Over 4000 Built: Why the World Still Loves the F-16 Jets

The General Dynamics f16 jets is a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. It is one of the only top jet fighters in the world to also be cost efficient.

This light fighter jet is fast and extremely agile, and it remains the most popular aircraft in modern military duty, with almost 2,700 in service around twenty-six countries out of a total production of 4,500. Needless to say, the 1980s’ cutting-edge fourth-generation fighter will be with us for a long time.

Over 4000 Built: Why the World Still Loves the F-16 Jets
Over 4000 Built: Why the World Still Loves the F-16 Jets

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations.

In an air combat role, the F-16’s maneuverability and combat radius (distance it can fly to enter air combat, stay, fight and return) exceed that of all potential threat fighter aircraft. It can locate targets in all weather conditions and detect low flying aircraft in radar ground clutter.

In an air-to-surface role, the F-16 can fly more than 500 miles (860 kilometers), deliver its weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its starting point. An all-weather capability allows it to accurately deliver ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions.

Over 4000 Built: Why the World Still Loves the F-16 Jets
Over 4000 Built: Why the World Still Loves the F-16 Jets

In designing the F-16, advanced aerospace science and proven reliable systems from other aircraft such as the F-15 and F-111 were selected. These were combined to simplify the airplane and reduce its size, purchase price, maintenance costs and weight.

The light weight of the fuselage is achieved without reducing its strength. With a full load of internal fuel, the F-16 can withstand up to nine G’s — nine times the force of gravity — which exceeds the capability of other current fighter aircraft.

The cockpit and its bubble canopy give the pilot unobstructed forward and upward vision, and greatly improved vision over the side and to the rear. The seat-back angle was expanded from the usual 13 degrees to 30 degrees, increasing pilot comfort and gravity force tolerance.

The pilot has excellent flight control of the F-16 through its “fly-by-wire” system. Electrical wires relay commands, replacing the usual cables and linkage controls. For easy and accurate control of the aircraft during high G-force combat maneuvers, a side stick controller is used instead of the conventional center-mounted stick. Hand pressure on the side stick controller sends electrical signals to actuators of flight control surfaces such as ailerons and rudder.

Avionics systems include a highly accurate enhanced global positioning and inertial navigation systems, or EGI, in which computers provide steering information to the pilot.

The plane has UHF and VHF radios plus an instrument landing system. It also has a warning system and modular countermeasure pods to be used against airborne or surface electronic threats. The fuselage has space for additional avionics systems.

Two U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Flacon Aircraft fly Through The Sky
Two U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 121st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron fly over U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility during a mission in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, July 17, 2021. CJTF-OIR enables its partners to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS in designated areas of Iraq and Syria, and sets conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Taylor Crul)

All F-16s delivered since November 1981 have built-in structural and wiring provisions and systems architecture that permit expansion of the multirole flexibility to perform precision strike, night attack and beyond-visual-range interception missions.

This improvement program led to the F-16C and F-16D aircraft, which are the single- and two-place counterparts to the F-16A/B, and incorporate the latest cockpit control and display te

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