F-16 "Fighting Falcon"

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F-16 Fighting Falcon

The F-16 evolved from a 1972 Air Force Lightweight Fighter prototype program, which sought a small, lightweight, low-cost air superiority day fighter designed for high performance and ease of maintenance. The YF-16 was selected as the winner over the Northrop YF-17 after the LWF fly-off competition was completed. The basic YF-17 design was used as the basis for the Navy’s F-18. The F-16 achieved combat-ready status in October 1980. Many foreign nations, including Belgium, Denmark, Turkey, Egypt, and Israel, purchased the F-16.

During Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Desert Fox in 1991, the F-16 provided close air support and air defense suppression roles. In Operation Desert Storm, the F-16 flew 13,500 sorties with 250 aircraft, provided more than 40 percent of Air Force bomb-dropping sorties, and delivered 20,000 tons of bombs. It operated from austere, forward-operating locations to maximize sortie rates and payloads, performing various missions, including Scud Chasing and Killer Scout (Fast Forward Controller).


Wing Span: 32 ft 10 in with missiles mounted, 30 ft without missiles or rails
Length: 47 ft 8 in, 49 ft 6 in with pitot boom
Height: 16 ft 5 in
Weight: 33,000 lb max. takeoff
Armament: One 20-mm M-61A1 Vulcan cannon and various combinations of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and bombs
Engines: One Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 turbofan of 23,830 lbst at sea level thrust each with afterburner
Crew: One
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