You are correct in your assumption. The Viper does have a tail hook but it is not used like you would think a navy jet would use it. It is used in emergency situations like a brake failure on the runway. There is a wire strung across the runway for this. If the pilot feels he needs to catch the wire, the hook can be deployed via a switch on the front left console. It is also used to restrain the jet on the trim pad or in the hush house during engine runs. A huge chain is attached to the hook and then it's time to light the burner!!!! Pretty cool when you're in the hush house at night and the hush house super lets you turns the lights off. We call it a "lights out burner run." Hope this helps you out, PM me if you have any more ?'s.
USAF F-16D block 40 #89-2168 of 35 FS based at Kunsan AB, attempts a hook barrier engagement scenario during Kunsan`s 'Beverly Bearcat' Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) on March 17th, 2001. [USAF photo by SSgt Jerry Morrison]