Lockheed Martin F-16


The General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) F-16 was designed as a close air superiority aircraft for the United States Air Force to meet the requirements of the Lightweight Fighter Program. Importantly, it was also an option for the Multinational Fighter Program Group formed by Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway to replace their F-104 Starfighter aircraft.  In January 1975 the YF-16 was chosen to fulfil both programs.  Its competitor, the Northrop YF-17 Cobra went on to become the F/A-18.

In 1979 the F-16A and B (two-seat trainer) Fighting Falcon (or Viper as it is known by those who work with it) was delivered to service units and uniquely, concurrently to the Belgium Air Force.  Although the F-16 was conceived as a low-cost fighter capable of a range of mission profiles it also included some of the latest advances in technology and design.  The most notable was the use of fly-by-wire, replacing mechanical linkages between control surfaces.  

The F-16s low production and maintenance costs combined with a platform that has continued to evolve with technology and new threats led to over 2500 F-16s of different variants being produced for the US alone, with a further 2400 being operated by 23 other countries, ensuring that the F-16 was used extensively around the world during the latter stages of the Cold War era and beyond.

I am interested in...