F-16 Fighting Falcon
Supersonic F-16 Fighting Falcon is one of the most common multirole fighters. The production has already significantly exceeded 4,000 air fighters and still continues. The original draft was made by the company General Dynamics (nowadays Lockheed Martin) as a reaction to the U.S. Air Force’s programme LWF (Light Weight Fighter), which served as a searching platform during 70s. The first prototype YF-16 took off for its first flight from Edwards Air Force Base in California on January 20, 1974. Thanks to its rapid development, YF-16 defeated Northrop's competing YF-17, which was later used as the basis for another famous fourth-generation aircraft - the F/A-18 Hornet.
Considering the amount of planes, several aircraft versions have been produced with varying upgrades ranging from the original F-16A/B to the currently offered F-16V. The spectrum of users of the legendary F-16 is wide, with around 1,200 planes still in service with the US Air Force. Other original users were Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway, but they are already replacing their machines with the new F-35 Lightning II. Within NATO, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Romania, and Poland also operate Falcons. Slovakia and Bulgaria have ordered their machines. Other major users include several Middle Eastern states and also Pakistan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
A specific feature of the aircraft is frameless bubble canopy allowing the pilot a circular view. The fighter has Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220E as its initial powerplant for the single-engine F-16 rated at 107.4 kN thrust. The basis of its equipment is represented by M61A1 Vulcan G-barrel Gatling cannon, range 20 mm. It is also possible to hang various anti-aircraft and anti-ground controlled missiles, laser-guided bombs and radio-electronic reconnaissance containers to the racks under the wing and to the fuselage besides additional fuel tanks.
|Max. takeoff weight
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