The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine, single-seat, highly maneuverable lightweight fighter aircraft flown in large numbers by the US Air Force and 25 other air forces (Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Denmark…). Originally intended primarily as a day fighter, the F-16 has proven to be an effective multipurpose, continually improving interceptor and strike aircraft. Its first flight was on February 2, 1974.
The F-16 has a blended wing/body design in which the fuselage contributes lift, especially at high angles of attack. A prominent factor in the design is the acceptance of relaxed static stability, which reduces drag, by incorporating Fly-by Wire (FEW) control through a Lear-Siegler quadruple-redundant flight control computer. As a result, the F-16 can attain 9g in sustained turns; the maximum instantaneous turn rate at 400 kts (461 mph; 741 km/h) is 19°/sec.
The 11-spar, cropped delta wing is made primarily of aluminum alloy. The single, tall fin and rudder and all-moving tailplanes also have aluminum structures, but have graphite-epoxy skin panels. Two trapezoidal ventral fins are located below and ahead of the tailplanes.
The fuselage of F-16 has the cockpit well forward, ahead of the nose gear. The wide, ventral intake is not variable but is fitted with a boundary-layer splitter plate. The single engine is an afterburning F110-GE-100 turbofan (28,600 lbf (127 kN)). The cockpit has a large bubble canopy, giving the pilot a 360° view in the upper hemisphere as well as excellent forward and downward visibility.
Primary avionic s include a Westinghouse multimode , I/J-ban d pulse Doppler radar, GEC Avionics Head-Up Display (HUD), angle-of-attack indicator, Combined Altitude Radar Altimeter (CARA), and Litton LN-39 Inertial Navigation System (INS).
Standard internal armament consists of an M61 Vulcan Galling cannon in the left LERX (Leading Edge Root Extension). In addition to the centerline hardpoint and two stub pylons on the inlet, the F-16 has six wing pylons for external stores and two tip rails for Air-to-Air Missiles (AAM). The F-16A/B aircraft can fire only AIM-9 Sidewinder Infrared (IR) AAM; later models are capable of firing Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM such as the AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-120 AMRAAM, and Sky Flash missiles. The F-16 has also test-fired Matra Magic 2 IRAAM.
Over 4,400 F-16s have been produced or ordered. Outside of the EPG production, each country purchasing F-16 s is assigned a “Peace” name.