February 7, 1999 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The F-16 has recently achieved significant milestones in flight safety and maturity. The 18 international air forces flying the F-16 established a new safety record in 1998.
During the year only four Class A mishaps were experienced in approximately 226, 000 flight hours. (Note, a Class A mishap is defined as one involving over $1 million in damage. ) This yielded a Class A mishap rate of 1. 8 per 100, 000 flight hours.
The previous best record for the international F-16 community was 2.3, which occurred in 1996. The attrition rate for the international F-16 fleet was also a record best, with three losses for an attrition rate of 1. 3 per 100,000 flighthours. The previous best was 2. 3 in 1996.
The worldwide F-16 fleet passed eight million flight hours in December1998. U.S. Air Force F-16s flew 5. 7 million hours of this, with the 18international air forces contributing the rest. The F-16 safety records for all users have continued to improve with experience. This is attributed to continual improvements to the aircraft and its procedures for operations and maintenance. Another major contributor is the strong safety program with participation by all using air forces, the prime contractor (Lockheed Martin), and both engine manufacturers (General Electric and Pratt & Whitney).
The F-16 continues to be the safest multirole fighter in U.S. Air Force history. With the improved safety performance by the international community, the F-16 is likely the safest multirole fighter worldwide.