Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems
Times Change. So Does the F-16 -
Still the World's Best Value in Fighters.
The world has seen some dramatic changes since the F-16 was introduced in the late 1971s. The Berlin Wall has come down, Germany has reunified, the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union have been dissolved, capitalism has been replacing communism, democracy has been replacing totalitarianism, freedom has been replacing oppression, and many new trouble spots have erupted in the world. The F-16 has been a part of it all and has helped influence these changes in a positive way.
The F-16 is the most sought-after fighter in the world today. Not only are additional countries seeking the F-16, but 13 countries have made substantial follow-on purchases to further modernise their defenses.
The F-16 program is a success because it has always focused on the future - in the initial design - in subsequent changes - and in future upgrades and derivatives.
Revolutionary in the Beginning
The F-16 was a revolutionary aircraft from the beginning - a major reversal in fighter design. It resulted from a fine blend of high technology and common sense requirements. It emphasized flight performance - range, persistence, and maneuverability - in the heart of the flight envelope where air combat occurs. It emphasized a 'user-friendly' cockpit and integrated avionics system for the single-seat pilot in the dynamic, close-in visual combat environment. And it emphasized low cost in procurement, in operation and support, and in provisions for growth. The F-16 introduced many very successful technologies, such as fly-by-wire and relaxed static stability, that gave it a quantum leap in capability over other fighters and still make it a fierce competitor today. These technologies have become industry standards for future designs. The F-16 disproved the adages that bigger was better, that high capability had to be expensive, and that sophisticated systems rarely w! orked.
Even though the F-16 still has the same timeless, sleek external lines, the interior has continually improved. It has grown from the world's best daytime air combat fighter to the best multirole fighter. It has incorporated sophisticated systems for night, under-the-weather, and all-weather operations. New weapons provide great precision ad standoff capability.
The F-16 has kept up with the latest in processor technology - doubling the speed and memory of core avionics every few years. Upgrades to software are introduced every two years, and major upgrades to engines have occurred every five years. A redesigned cockpit, a new radar, and a new generation of electronic warfare aids have also been introduced.
The Evolution Continues
High payoff upgrades are planned for both production and fleet retrofit beyond the year 2000. The Japanese FS-X, a derivative of the F-16, is developing advanced technologies that could be introduced into the F-16. Preliminary designs for F-16 derivatives adapt advanced technologies where it is cost effective to do so.
Multirole Versatility - Buy an Aircraft,
Get an Air Force
The F-16's versatility makes it a valuable asset to any air force - large or small. A single multirole fighter that is small in size, but large in capability, provides economies-of-scale advantages in procurement, in logistics, in training, and in operation. The F-16 possesses excellent capabilities in many mission areas.
Multirole Fighter. The F-16 is the world's premier multirole fighter. It has the range, payload, agility, and systems required to reach, locate, and destroy its targets as well as the survivability and sortie rates to return to the battle again and again. Its lethal self-defense capability precludes the need of dedicated escort fighters. The F-16 can be configured with a mix of weapons to perform combination air-to-air/ air-to-surface patrol missions.
Air Defense/Interceptor. The F-16 is the recognized champion of close-in aerial combat and is becoming highly respected for its potent beyond-visual-range capability. It is now operational with both the AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-120 AMRAAM radar missiles. Its excellent performance, lethal weapons, and avionics enable it to establish an impenetrable barrier from either ground or airborne alert status.
Maritime Interdiction. The F-16 employs a variety of weapons, such as Penguin, Harpoon, and Maverick-G missiles, to attack ships from standoff ranges. Detection and tracking are accomplished by FLIR pods or sea modes in the fire control radar.
Night Attack. Using a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) navigation pod plus night vision goggles, the F-16 pilot can navigate and attack targets at night using tactics similar to those used in daylight.
Battlefield Air Support. The F-16 carries a variety of weapons to effectively locate and attack a variety of tactical targets - from wide area soft targets to mobile armored vehicles close to friendly forces. Its small size, agility, and countermeasures equipment allow it to survive the dense threat environment. Its high sortie rates, high cruise speed, and long loiter time ensure quick response to dynamic needs.
Reconnaissance. The F-16 reconnaissance variant is under development and will use a reconnaissance pod to provide a day-only reconnaissance capability while retaining multirole combat capabilities. Its excellent stability provides superior image quality. Future growth includes recording imagery on film or magnetic tape, reviewing and editing the imagery in-flight, and data-linking imagery to selected agencies in near-real time. The F-16 has demonstrated compatibility with a variety of international reconnaissance pods.
Precision Strike/Interdiction. The F-16 has the range, navigation systems, and weapons to reach, locate, and destroy high-value point targets. Precision standoff weapons include electro-optical/infrared (E-O/IR) glide bombs and laser-guided bombs (LGBs). The F-16 uses targeting pod systems to track and designate targets for itself or for other aircraft.
Fast Forward Air Controller. The F-16 has been effectively utilized in this role. It has the precision navigation, sensors, endurance, agility, and survivability to locate and mark targets for other aircraft, either close to friendlies or deep behind enemy lines, day or night.
Defense Suppression. The F-16 employs HARM anti-radiation missiles and cluster bombs to neutralize or destroy air defense sites. A HARM targeting system pod provides autonomous, reactive anti-radar capability. The F-16's small radar signature, speed, and agility make it a difficult target for these air defense sites to counter.
Non-Combat Roles. The USAF Thunderbirds and other air demonstration teams selected the F-16 because of its outstanding performance and precision handling qualities. It has been used as an advanced adversary aircraft by both the USAF and the U.S. Navy to emulate the latest fighter threats. It is employed as a test support aircraft to train USAF test pilots and to fly chase on aircraft undergoing flight test. It also serves as a primary test bed for generic systems, such as GPS, LANTIRN, AMRAAM, and ASPJ. And versions of the F-16 (F-16XL, AFTI/F-16, NF-16 VISTA) are used as test beds for advanced technologies and integration.
Operationally Proven - Exceeding
The F-16 has fully matured, with more than six million flight hours flown by 18 air forces. It has proved itself across the spectrum - in daily operation, in numerous exercises, in bombing competitions, and in actual combat.
In Daily Operations - The standard of Excellence Worldwide
In the early 1980s, the F-16 set the standard of excellence for fighter aircraft in almost every measure imaginable. This leadership has continued as the aircraft has matured through millions of flight hours and numerous upgrades. The F-16 has proven its operability in all types of climatic conditions and operating tempos.
A major test of a unit and its equipment occurs during deployment. F-16 units frequently deploy to distant austere airfields with minimum support packages and quickly begin high-tempo operations that are sustained for days and even weeks. Invariably, the airplanes perform beautifully.
In Exercises - High Scores and Rates
In both training and evaluation exercises, the F-16 makes the pilots and maintenance teams look good with mostly excellent or outstanding ratings in aircraft related categories. Many records have been set during these exercises.
In Competition - Always the Favorite
Since the F-16 began competing in 1981, F-16 teams have participated in dozens of major bombing and gunnery competition, winning 90 percent of these. F-16s have consistently won national bombing titles in the countries that have them (Korea, Turkey, Greece). And F-16 teams have dominated both of the USAF's two major worldwide meets - Gunsmoke (air-to-ground) and William Tell (air-to-air).
In Actual Combat - The Ultimate Test
F-16s have been employed extensively in combat with spectacular results each time. In air-to-air combat, F-16s have compiled a 69:0 air-to-air exchange ratio with guns, IR missiles, and radar missiles. The first three combat kills with an AMRAAM missile were achieved from F-16s.
In the early 1980s, F-16s were effective in destroying high-value strategic targets and mobile SAM sites without a loss.
The F-16 was the workhorse of Operation Desert Storm (1991 Gulf War):
- Flew 13,500 sorties with 250 aircraft;
- Provided more than 40 percent of USAF bomb dropping sorties and delivered 20,000 tons of bombs;
- Performed a variety of mission, including 'Scud Chasing' and 'Killer Scout' (Fast Forward Air Controller);
- Produced highest mission capable and sortie rates of any aircraft in theater;
- Operated from austere, forward operating locations to maximize sortie rates and payloads.
Since the Gulf War, F-16 squadrons from several nation have served in peacekeeping operations by enforcing U.N. 'no-fly' restrictions over Iraq and Bosnia. In these operation, the Fighting Falcon has served in a number of mission roles - combat air patrol, close air support, defense suppression, reconnaissance, and Fast FAC - with great success in each.
Standard Features - The Basis
of a Great Fighter
Forebody Strakes - The strakes increase lift and directional control at higher angles of attack.
9-g Structure - F-16 structure allows sustained 9-g maneuvering even when carrying full internal fuel and air-to-air missiles.
Fixed Inlet - The F-16 has a uniquely shaped inlet, with no moving parts, that provides smooth airflow to the engine at extreme angles of attack.
M61 Gun - The F-16 uses the reliable U.S. Standard 20mm gun that fires 6,000 rounds per minute and carries 515 rounds.
Maneuvering Leading-Edge Flaps - Automatic flap control provides optimum maneuvering in all conditions.
Air Refueling Receptacle - Air refueling capability with boom-type tanker.
Jet Fuel Starter - Self-start capability and assisted in-flight restart.
Single Vertical Tail - The F-16's tall vertical tail helps provide good directional stability at high angles of attack.
Blending Body - The F-16's unique cross section is aerodynamically and volumetrically efficient.
8,000-Hour Service Life - The airframe is designed for 8,000 hours of operation (over 26 years if service at 25 flight hours/month) without a depot-level inspection or overhaul.
Fly-By-Wire Flight Control System - Electronic flight controls, combined with an angle of attack/g limiter, allow edge-of-the envelope precise maneuvering without worry of overstress or departure from controlled flight. The system also provides good ride quality in turbulent conditions. With relaxed static stability, this full-authority system gives the F-16 its famous maneuver responsiveness.
Stores Carriage Capability - The F-16 is capable of carrying up to 21,550 lb of weapons, ECM and sensor pods, and external fuel tanks on 11 store stations. With full internal fuel, the F-16 carries over 14,000 lb (F-16A) or over 15,500 lb (F-16C) of external stores at its maximum takeoff gross weight.
Survivability Features - Small size, small signature, high sustained speeds, high agility, situation awareness features, countermeasures equipment, buried fuel lines, fuel inerting, critical systems redundancy and shielding, rugged 9-g structure with alternate load paths - make the F-16 difficult to detect, difficult to hit, and difficult to stop. On all missions, the F-16 possesses a lethal self-defense against air threats with its radar, gun, and all-aspect air-to-air missiles.
Cockpit - The Fighter Pilot's 'Office'
Originally, the F-16 cockpit was optimized for single-pilot operations in the dynamic visual combat environment. It has evolved into a truly versatile cockpit to perform the more complex night and in-weather operations and can accommodate the most advanced sensors and weapons of today and tomorrow.
Cockpit controls and displays still serve the basic F-16 'hands-on/head-up' philosophy, i.e., the pilot can perform normal functions without lowering or turning his head or removing his hands from the throttle and side-stick controller.
The F-16s large single-piece bubble canopy with no forward bow frame provides the pilot with the best visibility of any fighter in the world.
The 30-degree inclined seat, raised heel rests, and a positive pressure breathing system provide the pilot elevated g tolerance. The reclined seat is comfortable, even on 16-hour transoceanic ferry flights.
Multifunction displays (MFDs) are used to display video and characters and to control options for stores, sensors, radar, and certain avionics. Navigation data and target information are combined into a horizontal situation display (HSD) format that can grow to incorporate threat data and other overlays. The existing cockpit displays can be replaced by color displays with growth to add a third display wit color moving map capability.
A data transfer cartridge system is used to transfer information from a mission planning system to the aircraft. This 'cockpit initialization' saves valuable time and eliminates entry errors.
A three-channel color audio/visual recording system provides full mission debriefing and, thus, high-quality training and combat intelligence source data.
Growth options include large, flat panel color displays, a helmet-mounted display, and situation awareness enhancements.
Avionics - Exploiting Rapidly
The F-16 contains a modern avionics suite that frequently receives hardware and software upgrades. The "brains" of the F-16's core avionics system is the new modular mission computer (MMC) currently under development utilizing state-of-the-art technology. This advanced processor combines the functions of three computers and has several times the speed and memory of those combined. The MMC has large growth potential, which is achieved by adding line-replaceable modules.
The F-16 has an advanced navigation system consisting of the following components:
Ring Laser Gyro Inertial Navigation System (RLG INS) - This extremely reliable INS provides basic position and attitude information with rapid ground and in-flight alignment capabilities.
Global Positioning System (GPS) - This satellite-based navigation system, operational on the F-16 since 1989, provides worldwide precision navigation, which updates the INS.
Digital Terrain System (DTS) - This terrain-referenced navigation system will provide several functions: precision navigation, manual terrain following, ground/obstacle collision avoidance, computed slant ranging, and, potentially, threat avoidance.
In addition, the F-16 carries standard TACAN and ILS navigation systems, and IFF transponder, and a combined altitude radar altimeter.
Standard communication equipment consists of a UHF radio, a VHF AM/FM radio, and a data modem. The modem provides a data link capability using either of the radios by converting coded audio signals to digital data ( and vice versa). Data link applications include furnishing timely target and threat data from external agencies or sharing own-ship and target data among flight members.
Stores Inventory - Always Expanding
- MAGIC II
- AIM-7 SPARROW/SKYFLASH
- AIM-9 Sidewinder
- AIM-120 AMRAAM
- AIM-132 ASRAAM
- ALQ-131 ECM POD
- LAU-3A/5003 ROCKET POD (CRV-7 ROCKET)
- AGM-45 SHRIKE
- AGM-65 Maverick
- AGM-84 HARPOON
- AGM-88 HARM
- AGM-119 PENGUIN
- MK-20 MOD-4 ROCKEYE
- MK-36 DESTRUCTOR (500lb)
- MK-82 LDGP (500lb)
- MK-82 SNAKEYE (500lb)
- MK-84 LDGP (2000lb)
- MK-106 PRACTICE
- GBU-10 PAVEWAY II (2000 lb)
- GBU-12 PAVEWAY II (500 lb)
- GBU-15 (2000 lb)
- GBU-24 PAVEWAY III (2000 lb)
- BSU-49 'BALOOT' (500 lb)
- BSU-50 'BALOOT' (2000lb)
- BDU-33 PRACTICE
- BLU-107/B DURANDAL
- BLU-109 (2000 lb)
- CBU-87/89/97 TMD
- GPU-5/A 30MM GUN POD
- SUU-20 PRACTICE
- RUBIS NAVIGATION POD
- ATLIS II TARGETING POD
- RECONNAISSANCE PODS
- ATLANTIC NAVIGATION POD
- AAQ-13 LANTIRN NAVIGATION POD
- AAQ-14 LANTIRN/SHARPSHOOTER
- AAQ-20 PATHFINDER NAVIGATION POD
- AAS-35 PAVE PENNY LASER SPOT TRACKER POD
- ALQ-119/184 ECM POD
- ASQ-213 HARM TARGETING SYSTEM POD
- A/A 37U-36 AERIAL GUNNERY TARGET
- AUTONOMOUS FREE-FLIGHT DISPENSER SYSTEM
- MXU-648 CARGO POD
- AXQ-14 DATA LINK POD
- AMCI POD
- 300-GAL. CENTERLINE TANK
- 370-GAL. TANK
- 600-GAL TANK
Countermeasures Equipment - Critical
The F-16 is fully equipped to deal with a wide range of threats. Radar Warning systems analyze incoming signals and identify the type of threat, activity, and direction. An interference blanker liters out the F-16's own RF emissions. F-16 pilots use the aircraft's low signature to avoid being detected until it is too late to be effectively engaged. But once attacked, the F-16 pilots employs chaff and electronic jamming, along with agile maneuvering, to degrade tracking and avoid being hit. Flares are employed to decoy infrared homing missiles.
The F-16 has a selection of alternative countermeasures suites to suit the particular user. Some air forces use electronic countermeasures (ECM) pods while others prefer an internal ECM set. Some have additional chaff/flare dispensers. Some have integrated suites that provide automatic jamming and chaff dispensing.
Radar - 'The Eyes' of the Falcon
The F-16 is equipped with either the APG-66 (F-16A) or APG-68 (F-16C) Westinghouse multimode radars. Both radars have been frequently upgraded and exhibit the latest in radar technology, including a very high-speed integrated circuit (VHSIC) signal processor. These radars provide long-range detection and tracking and high-resolution mapping. Popular air-to-air modes include air combat (auto acquisition), range while search, search while track (two-target), 10-target track-while-scan, and raid cluster resolution. Air-to-surface modes include moving target track, high-resolution mapping, and sea search and track. The APG-68 also has a high-pulse-repetition-frequency (PRF) capability for very long-range detection and for guidance of AIM-7 missiles. AIM-7 capability can be provided with either radar by adding a continuous wave illuminator (CWI).
Future growth may include auto terrain following, advanced aerial target identification, combined and interleaving of mode, and a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) capability. SAR provides very high resolution mapping and target recognition capability with all-weather precision weapons currently in development.
Multiple Targets Attack - Day/Night,
Standoff Multiple Kills per Pass
Engines - The World's Best
The F-16 features the world's finest fighter engines. The F-16A is powered by the 24,000-lb class F100-PW-220. The F-16C offers a choice of the 29,000-lb class engines: the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 or the General Electric F110-GE-129. Future engine improvement will likely produce a 31,000 to 35,0000 lb of thrust class engine. The forward engine air inlet is sized to optimize the performance of the selected engine.
All three engines have electronic engine controls and other advanced technologies that produce high thrust-to-weight, high cruise efficiency, unrestricted operation by the pilot, quick response the throttle changes, ease of air starts, high durability (4,000 TAC cycles), high reliability, low maintenance requirements, ease of maintenance (including self-diagnostics and fault reporting), and full thrust retention over time. These attributes translate into high performance, high pilot confidence, high in-commission rates, low operating and support costs, and excellent safety.
Engine growth plans include improvement to thrust, reliability, maintainability, and signature. Potential exists for adding a thrust vectoring nozzle integrated with the flight control system.
Safety - Excellent and Constantly Improving
The F-16 continues to be the safest single-engine fighter and the safest multirole fighter in USAF history. The USAF F-16 loss rate per 100,000 flight hours during 1990-1994 was 3.9.
Many inherent safety features are incorporated:
- Situation awareness aids - head-up display, up-front controls, hands-on controls, integrated display formats, bubble canopy, ground proximity warning
- Multiple communications and navigation systems
- Integrated caution/warning system
- ACES II Ejection Seat
- Reclined seat and positive pressure breathing system for increased g tolerance
- Proximate splitter
- Jet fuel starter-assisted airstart
- Backup engine control
- Gun muzzle and nosewheel aft of engine inlet
- Nacelle ventilation
Aircraft Systems :
- Extensive built-in self-test and fault reporting
- Antiskid brakes
- Emergency arresting hook
- Optional drag chute
Highly Redundant Systems :
- Flight control
- Electrical power
- Hydraulic power
- Fuel transfer
- Rugged structure able to fly home after extensive in-flight damage
- Short takeoff distance
- Automatic stall/departure prevention
- Low Landing speed
Mishap Investigation :
- Crash survivable flight data recorder helps prevent future mishaps
For the Future... :
- Hundreds of safety improvements have been made over the long program life of the F-16. Even though the F-16 is very mature with over 6 million flight hours, continued improvements will reduce mishap rates even further.
Current Options - Tailoring the F-16 to the User's Needs
As a multinational, multirole, front-line fighter, the F-16 has been required to satisfy many unique operational requirements. These varying customer needs have been achieved by taking advantage of the aircraft's inherent flexibility and by adding optional equipment and stores. Some of the existing options are listed below:
Missionized Two-Seat Version - Independent system operator station provides increased effectiveness in night/adverse weather, high-threat, and special system missions. Also serves as operational trainer.
Dorsal Compartment - Adds 30 cubic feet for more avionics with only small increases in weight and drag.
Drag Chute - Decreases stopping distances for short field operations, poor braking conditions, and emergencies; reduces brake wear.
600-Gallon Fuel Tanks - Increase range/persistence 35 percent over 370-gallon tanks with same flight limitations; contain single-point selectable fill capability.
Night Cockpit Lighting - Provides compatibility with night vision goggles.
Color Camera/Video Recorder - Provides color three-source video recording for 2 to 6 hours.
Advanced IFF (APX-109+/113) - Combines transponder and interrogator functions for electronic identification.
HF Radio (ARC-190/200) - Provides long-range communications.
UHF/VHF Radio (ARC-210) - Provides all radio communications in single unit.
Improved Data Modem - Provides data link communications using existing radios.
Embedded GPS/INS - Combines GPS with a ring laser gyro INS in one unit for reliable, precision navigation.
Targeting Pods (LANTIRN, Sharpshooter, ATLISII) - Provide stand-off target identification, attack, and assessment; FLIR or electro-optical (E-O) auto tracker and laser designation for laser-guided bombs.
Navigation Pods (LANTIRN, Pathfinder, RUBIS, ATLANTIC) - Open night window for accurate visual weapon delivery; LANTIRN also has fully automatic terrain following radar.
Recce Pods - Alternative vendor pods available, as well as a Lockheed pod shell for housing customer-defined sensor suites.
Electronic Warfare Systems - F-16 offers a wide selection of threat warning receivers (ALR-69, ALR-56M, SPS-3000 RWR), chaff/flare dispensers (ALE-40, ALE-47, Terma EWMS), and electronic countermeasures equipment (ALQ-131 and -184 pods and internal systems - ALQ-178, EWS 16/Carapace, ASPIS).
Increased Chaff/Flare Dispensers - In crease protection; internal or pylon-mounted options.
Short-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AIM-9, Magic, ASRAAM) - Provide all-aspect dogfight capability.
Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AIM-7, Skyflash, AIM-120, MICA) - Provide, standoff all-weather intercept capability.
Anti-Ship Missiles (AGM-119, AGM-84, AGM-65G) - Provide standoff anti-ship capability in different environmental conditions.
Precision Weapons (AGM-65 Maverick, AS30L, Paveway Laser-Guided Bombs, GBU-15) - Provide high lethality with standoff distances.
Autonomous Free-Flight Dispenser System - Provides high accuracy without overflight.
Future Options - Keeping the F-16
State of the Art
The following options could be available in the future:
Air Refuelling Probe - Provides in-flight refuelling from drogue system.
Auxiliary Power Unit - Replaces jet fuel starter and electrical an hydraulic carts requirements.
On-Board Oxygen Generation Systems (OBOGS) - Eliminates liquid oxygen servicing requirements.
On-Board Inert Gas Generation Systems (OBIGGS) - Eliminates halon and nitrogen servicing requirements.
Multi-Axis Thrust Vectoring - Provides precise control and high nose-pointing rates at low air speeds.
Helmet-Mounted Display - Provides off-axis target cueing and pilot situation awareness; provides off-axis night vision in conjunction with a head-steered FLIR.
Programmable Color Display - Real-Time Information in the Cockpit (RTIC) - Receives off-board intelligence and control via data link; intraflight exchange of own-ship and target data.
In-Flight Route Planning - Provides pilot with dynamic flight direction for best avoidance of threats.
Perspective Displays - Provide visual refresher to pilot to improve first-run attack success probability.
Embedded Training - Enhances peacetime training using realistic simulated threats and targets.
Auto Ground Collision Avoidance System -Integrates digital terrain system with digital flight control to enhance low-altitude safety.
Automatic Maneuvering Attack - Provides integrated fire and flight control for reduced pilot work load.
Microwave Landing System - Provides curvilinear precision instrument approach cpability.
LATARS - Provides long-range covert target recognition.
Internal FLIR System - Incorporates a turreted FLIR/laser system in nose of F-16 for improved weight, drag, and viewing angles versus pods; provides growth for infrared search and track.
International Sensor Pods - TIALD and CLDP E-O/IR targeting pods, ASTAC electronic intelligence pod, and Litening nav/targeting pod.
Internal Electronic Warfare Systems - Lockheed Sander ALQ-126B/162 and ALQ-207, ALQ-165, ALQ-187, ALQ-202.
Missile Warning System - Provides warning of approaching missiles for proper timing of countermeasures.
All-Weather Standoff Weapons - AGM-84E Standoff Land-Attack Missile (SLAM), JDAM, AGM-154 JSOW.
ADVANCED WEAPONS - AIM-9X and Active Skyflash air-to-air missiles, ALARM anti-radiation missile, Apache multimission standoff weapon, and wind-corrected munitions dispenser.
Supportability - Unequaled Anywhere
A principle reason for the F-16s success has been exemplary logistics support network. The extensive network includes first-class product support from Lockheed, multiple production lines and suppliers, multiple depots, and on-base support for 3,000+ aircraft at 85 bases in 20 countries. This exceptional support network means assurance for even the smallest air force, deployability for U.S. units, and interoperability in allied operations. The F-16 performs admirably in a wide diversity of support concepts and operating tempos.
F-16s comprise over half of the USAF fighter force. The USAF is replacing its older F-16A/Bs with the latest F-16C/D version. With F-16 production continuing through the late 1990s for the USAF and at least five other countries, and with F-16 service life expected beyond the year 2025, long-term supportability is assured. Moreover, programs are in place to ensure that suppliers remain available for all F-16 components. Furthermore, periodic programs to upgrade the F-16 not only prevent it from becoming obsolete but also help to keep it supportable.
Superb User Satisfaction - No Surprise
The F-16 is not only the favorite to fly among fighter pilots, it is also the favorite of maintenance personnel and all those responsible for managing budgets, force planning, and operations. It is not only the lowest-cost, high-performance fighter in the world, but it is also the most affordable to operate and support. The reasons are simple - the F-16 is very stingy on fuel, and it is the most reliable and maintainable fighter in the world.
The F-16s outstanding reliability and maintainability also translate into high readiness and sortie rates. The USAF F-16C/D aircraft average an 88% mission capable rate - the highest for all U.S. fighter aircraft. This level of readiness ensures that peacetime training programs are not limited by the aircraft, and in case of war, that sufficient aircraft are available to do the job. The F-16's high availability and quick turnarounds yield high combat sortie surge rates - a major force multiplier. With its night and adverse weather capabilities, the F-16 is able to sustain high sortie rates for long periods, limited only by human fatigue and base infrastructure factors.
The F-16's high system reliability, system redundancies, navigation and weapon delivery accuracies, night/ adverse weather operability, and high survivability all work together to ensure high mission success rates - exceeding those of any other fighter in the world. Couple this with its low life-cycle costs and this means superior value. It is no surprise that the F-16 is the most sought-after fighter in the world and that all users have made, or are seriously considering, follow-on buys.
Focused on the Future:
The F-16 Fighting Falcon has a long and illustrious past - and is future is just as bright. All the ingredients are there - high capability at lowest cost - great versatility and system options - firm production orders through the end of the decade, plus strong interest for new and follow-on sales - assured supportability - extensive growth capability and plans - and avenues for technology transfer from new programs.
And the Falcon Evolution Continues . . .
General Disclaimer :
References in this document do not imply U.S. Government consent or intent to approve the release or sale of the systems or configurations described. U.S. Government release of these systems will only be addressed on a case-by-case basis after a specific request through USAF/IADD.