January 13, 2004 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A group of Air National Guard F-16 fighters, recently re-engined with new Pratt & Whitney (P&W) F100- PW-229 engines, has achieved a year of flying in which the engines have performed flawlessly - a condition known as "Code One."
The aircraft are of the "block 42
" F-16 configuration. Block 42 aircraft were originally built starting in 1988 and powered by P&W F100-PW-220 engines. The -229 retrofit program was initiated by the Air National Guard in 2000 to provide a more powerful engine and bring the Block 42 F-16s up to current combat capability. Thus far, 15 out of 51 aircraft have been re-engined.
The -220 engines that are removed from the F-16s are transferred to other Guard aircraft that fly earlier model F100 engines on their F-15As.
Air National Guard units in Iowa, Ohio and Oklahoma operate Block 42 F-16s. As part of air expeditionary forces, units from the three states deploy together anywhere in the world where precision-guided weapons delivery may be needed. One recent deployment in which the newly re-engined aircraft operated included patrol of the no-fly zones in Iraq
, just prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The -229 adds nearly 25 percent more thrust over the earlier F100-PW-220, giving the pilot additional margin to maneuver the aircraft away from such threats as enemy ground fire and other aircraft. If ever there were doubts about the wisdom of upgrading Guard F-16s with this engine, these deployments have erased them. This remarkable achievement underscores the benefits that will accrue to the Guard and the nation once all of the Block 42 F-16s have been re-engined.
See also F-16.net forum: Pratt and Whitney versus General Electric