Planes which have made History, Part II

Jul 24 07:25 2017 Relly Victoria Virgil Petrescu Print This Article

Authors: Relly Victoria V. Petrescu and Florian Ion T. Petrescu


Planes which have made History, Part II


General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as a lightweight day fighter,Guest Posting it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,400 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976. Though no longer being purchased by the U.S. Air Force, improved versions are still being built for export customers. In 1993, General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation, which in turn became part of Lockheed Martin after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta.

The Fighting Falcon is a dogfighter with numerous innovations including a frameless bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while maneuvering, a seat reclined 30 degrees to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot, and the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire flight control system that makes it a highly nimble aircraft. The F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcan cannon and has 11 hardpoints for mounting weapons, and other mission equipment. Although the F-16's official name is "Fighting Falcon", it is known to its pilots as the "Viper", due to it resembling a viper snake and after the Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper starfighter.

In addition to USAF active, reserve, and air national guard units, the aircraft is used by the USAF aerial demonstration team, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and as an adversary/aggressor aircraft by the United States Navy. The F-16 has also been procured to serve in the air forces of 25 other nations.

Experience in the Vietnam War revealed the need for air superiority fighters and better air-to-air training for fighter pilots. Based on his experiences in the Korean War and as a fighter tactics instructor in the early 1960s Colonel John Boyd with mathematician Thomas Christie developed the Energy-Maneuverability theory to model a fighter aircraft's performance in combat. Boyd's work called for a small, lightweight aircraft with an increased thrust-to-weight ratio. In the late 1960s, Boyd gathered a group of like-minded innovators that became known as the Fighter Mafia and in 1969 they secured DoD funding for General Dynamics and Northrop to study design concepts based on the theory.

Air Force F-X proponents remained hostile to the concept because they perceived it as a threat to the F-15 program. However, the Advanced Day Fighter concept, renamed F-XX gained civilian political support under the reform-minded Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard, who favored the idea of competitive prototyping. As a result in May 1971, the Air Force Prototype Study Group was established, with Boyd a key member, and two of its six proposals would be funded, one being the Lightweight Fighter (LWF). The Request for Proposals issued on 6 January 1972 called for a 20,000-pound (9,100 kg) class air-to-air day fighter with a good turn rate, acceleration and range, and optimized for combat at speeds of Mach 0.6–1.6 and altitudes of 30,000–40,000 feet (9,100–12,000 m). This was the region where USAF studies predicted most future air combat would occur. The anticipated average flyaway cost of a production version was $3 million. This production plan, though, was only notional as the USAF had no firm plans to procure the winner.

Five companies responded and in 1972, the Air Staff selected General Dynamics' Model 401 and Northrop's P-600 for the follow-on prototype development and testing phase. GD and Northrop were awarded contracts worth $37.9 million and $39.8 million to produce the YF-16 and YF-17, respectively, with first flights of both prototypes planned for early 1974. To overcome resistance in the Air Force hierarchy, the Fighter Mafia and other LWF proponents successfully advocated the idea of complementary fighters in a high-cost/low-cost force mix. The "high/low mix" would allow the USAF to be able to afford sufficient fighters for its overall fighter force structure requirements. The mix gained broad acceptance by the time of the flyoff between the prototypes, and would define the relationship of the LWF and the F-15.

The first YF-16 was rolled out on 13 December 1973, and its 90-minute maiden flight was made at the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards AFB, California, on 2 February 1974. Its actual first flight occurred accidentally during a high-speed taxi test on 20 January 1974. While gathering speed, a roll-control oscillation caused a fin of the port-side wingtip-mounted missile and then the starboard stabilator to scrape the ground, and the aircraft then began to veer off the runway. The GD test pilot, Phil Oestricher, decided to lift off to avoid crashing the machine, and safely landed it six minutes later. The slight damage was quickly repaired and the official first flight occurred on time. The YF-16's first supersonic flight was accomplished on 5 February 1974, and the second YF-16 prototype first flew on 9 May 1974. This was followed by the first flights of the Northrop's YF-17 prototypes on 9 June and 21 August 1974, respectively. During the flyoff, the YF-16s completed 330 sorties for a total of 417 flight hours; the YF-17s flew 288 sorties, covering 345 hours.

Increased interest would turn the LWF into a serious acquisition program. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway were seeking to replace their F-104G fighter-bombers. In early 1974, they reached an agreement with the U.S. that if the USAF ordered the LWF winner, they would consider ordering it as well. The USAF also needed to replace its F-105 and F-4 fighter-bombers. The U.S. Congress sought greater commonality in fighter procurements by the Air Force and Navy, and in August 1974 redirected Navy funds to a new Navy Air Combat Fighter (NACF) program that would be a navalized fighter-bomber variant of the LWF. The four NATO allies had formed the “Multinational Fighter Program Group” (MFPG) and pressed for a U.S. decision by December 1974. The U.S. Air Force then advanced its plans to announce the LWF winner from May 1975 to the beginning of the year, and accelerated testing.

To reflect this more serious intent to procure a new fighter-bomber design, the LWF program was rolled into a new Air Combat Fighter (ACF) competition in an announcement by U.S. Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger in April 1974. Schlesinger also made it clear that any ACF order would be for aircraft in addition to the F-15, which extinguished opposition to the LWF. ACF also raised the stakes for GD and Northrop because it brought in further competitors intent on securing the lucrative order that was touted at the time as “the arms deal of the century”. These were Dassault-Breguet's Mirage F1M-53, the SEPECAT Jaguar, and a proposed derivative of the Saab 37 Viggen named the “Saab 37E Eurofighter”. Northrop offered the P-530 Cobra, which was very similar to its YF-17. The Jaguar and Cobra were dropped by the MFPG early on, leaving two European and the two U.S. candidates. On 11 September 1974, the U.S. Air Force confirmed firm plans to place an order for the winning ACF design sufficient to equip five tactical fighter wings. On 13 January 1975, Secretary of the Air Force John L. McLucas announced that the YF-16 had been selected as the winner of the ACF competition.

The chief reasons given by the Secretary for the decision were the YF-16's lower operating costs, greater range and maneuver performance that was “significantly better” than that of the YF-17, especially at near-supersonic and supersonic speeds. Another advantage was the fact that the YF-16 – unlike the YF-17 – employed the Pratt & Whitney F100 turbofan engine, which was the same powerplant used by the F-15; such commonality would lower the unit costs of engines for both programs.

Shortly after selection of the YF-16, Secretary McLucas revealed that the USAF planned to order at least 650 and up to 1,400 of the production F-16 version. In the Navy Air Combat Fighter (NACF) competition, the Navy announced on 2 May 1975 that it selected the YF-17 as the basis for what would become the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet.

The U.S. Air Force initially ordered 15 "Full-Scale Development" (FSD) aircraft (11 single-seat and four two-seat models) for its flight test program, but this was reduced to eight (six F-16A single-seaters and two F-16B two-seaters). The YF-16 design was altered for the production F-16. The fuselage was lengthened by 10.6 in (0.269 m), a larger nose radome was fitted to house the AN/APG-66 radar, wing area was increased from 280 sq ft (26 m2) to 300 sq ft (28 m2), the tailfin height was decreased slightly, the ventral fins were enlarged, two more stores stations were added, and a single side-hinged nosewheel door replaced the original double doors. These modifications increased the F-16's weight approximately 25% over that of the YF-16 prototypes.

Manufacture of the FSD F-16s got underway at General Dynamics' Fort Worth, Texas plant in late 1975, with the first example, an F-16A, being rolled out on 20 October 1976, followed by its first flight on 8 December. The initial two-seat model achieved its first flight on 8 August 1977. The initial production-standard F-16A flew for the first time on 7 August 1978 and its delivery was accepted by the USAF on 6 January 1979. The F-16 was given its formal nickname of “Fighting Falcon” on 21 July 1980, entering USAF operational service with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hill AFB on 1 October 1980.

On 7 June 1975, the four European partners, now known as the European Participation Group, signed up for 348 aircraft at the Paris Air Show. This was split among the European Participation Air Forces (EPAF) as 116 for Belgium, 58 for Denmark, 102 for the Netherlands, and 72 for Norway. These would be produced on two European production lines, one in the Netherlands at Fokker's Schiphol-Oost facility and the other at SABCA's Gossellies plant in Belgium; production would be divided among them as 184 and 164 units, respectively. Norway's Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk and Denmark's Terma A/S also manufactured parts and subassemblies for the EPAF aircraft. European co-production was officially launched on 1 July 1977 at the Fokker factory. Beginning in mid-November 1977, Fokker-produced components were shipped to Fort Worth for assembly of fuselages, which were in turn shipped back to Europe (initially to Gossellies starting in January 1978); final assembly of EPAF-bound aircraft began at the Belgian plant on 15 February 1978, with deliveries to the Belgian Air Force beginning in January 1979. The Dutch line started up in April 1978 and delivered its first aircraft to the Royal Netherlands Air Force in June 1979. In 1980 the first aircraft were delivered to the Royal Norwegian Air Force by SABCA and to the Royal Danish Air Force by Fokker.

Since then, a further production line has been established at Ankara, Turkey, where Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has produced 232 Block 30/40/50 F-16s under license for the Turkish Air Force during the late 1980s and 1990s, and has 30 Block 50 Advanced underway for delivery from 2010; TAI also built 46 Block 40s for Egypt in the mid-1990s. Korean Aerospace Industries opened another production line for the KF-16 program, producing 140 Block 52s from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s. If India selects the F-16IN for its Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft procurement, a sixth F-16 production line will be established in that nation to produce at least 108 fighters.

One change made during production was the need for more pitch control to avoid deep stall conditions at high angles of attack, this issue was known about in development but had originally been discounted. Model tests of the YF-16 conducted by the Langley Research Center revealed a potential problem, but no other laboratory was able to duplicate it. YF-16 flight tests were not sufficient to expose the issue, it required later flight testing on the FSD aircraft to demonstrate there was a real concern. In response, the areas of the horizontal stabilizer were increased 25%; this so-called "big tail" was introduced on the Block 15 aircraft in 1981 and retrofitted later on earlier production aircraft. Besides significantly reducing (though not eliminating) the risk of deep stalls, the larger horizontal tails also improved stability and permitted faster takeoff rotation.

In the 1980s, the Multinational Staged Improvement Program (MSIP) was conducted to evolve new capabilities for the F-16, mitigate risks during technology development, and ensure the aircraft's worth. The program upgraded the F-16 in three stages. The MSIP process permitted the introduction of new capabilities quicker, at lower costs and with reduced risks, compared to traditional independent programs to upgrade and modernize aircraft. The F-16 has been involved in other upgrade programs including service life extension programs in the 2000s.


The F-16 is a single-engined, supersonic, multi-role tactical aircraft. The F-16 was designed to be a cost-effective combat "workhorse" that can perform various kinds of missions and maintain around-the-clock readiness. It is much smaller and lighter than its predecessors, but uses advanced aerodynamics and avionics, including the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire (RSS/FBW) flight control system, to achieve enhanced maneuver performance. Highly nimble, the F-16 can pull 9-g maneuvers and can reach a maximum speed of over Mach 2.

The Fighting Falcon includes innovations such as a frameless bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control during combat maneuvers, and reclined seat to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot. The F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcan cannon in the left wing root and has 11 hardpoints for mounting various missiles, bombs and pods. It was also the first fighter aircraft purpose built to sustain 9-g turns. It has a thrust-to-weight ratio greater than one, providing power to climb and accelerate vertically.

Early models could also be armed with up to six AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking short-range air-to-air missiles (AAM), including a single missile mounted on a dedicated rail launcher on each wingtip. Some variants can also employ the AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range radar-guided AAM, and more recent versions can be equipped with the AIM-120 AMRAAM. It can also carry other AAM; a wide variety of air-to-ground missiles, rockets or bombs; electronic countermeasures (ECM), navigation, targeting or weapons pods; and fuel tanks on eleven hardpoints – six under the wings, two on wingtips and three under the fuselage.

The F-16 design employs a cropped-delta planform incorporating wing-fuselage blending and forebody vortex-control strakes; a fixed-geometry, underslung air intake inlet supplying airflow to the single turbofan jet engine; a conventional tri-plane empennage arrangement with all-moving horizontal “stabilator” tailplanes; a pair of ventral fins beneath the fuselage aft of the wing’s trailing edge; a single-piece, bird-proof “bubble” canopy; and a tricycle landing gear configuration with the aft-retracting, steerable nose gear deploying a short distance behind the inlet lip. There is a boom-style aerial refueling receptacle located a short distance behind the rear of the canopy. Split-flap speedbrakes are located at the aft end of the wing-body fairing, and an arrestor hook is mounted underneath the aft fuselage. Another fairing is situated at the base of the vertical tail, beneath the bottom of the rudder, and is used to house various items of equipment such as ECM gear or drag chutes. Several later F-16 models, such as the F-16I variant of the Block 50 aircraft, also have a long dorsal fairing “bulge” that runs along the “spine” of the fuselage from the rear of the cockpit to the tail fairing; these fairings can be used to house additional equipment or fuel.

The air intake was designed to be "far enough forward to allow a gradual bend in the air duct up to the engine face to minimize flow losses and far enough aft so it wouldn’t weigh too much or be too draggy or destabilizing."

The F-16 was designed to be relatively inexpensive to build and much simpler to maintain than earlier-generation fighters. The airframe is built with about 80% aviation-grade aluminum alloys, 8% steel, 3% composites, and 1.5% titanium. Control surfaces such as the leading-edge flaps, tailerons, and ventral fins make extensive use of bonded aluminum honeycomb structural elements and graphite epoxy laminate skins. The F-16A had 228 access panels over the entire aircraft, about 80% of which can be reached without work stands. The number of lubrication points, fuel line connections, and replaceable modules was significantly reduced compared to its predecessors.

Although the USAF’s LWF program had called for an aircraft structural life of only 4,000 flight hours, and capable of achieving 7.33 g with 80% internal fuel, GD’s engineers decided from the start to design the F-16’s airframe life to last to 8,000 hours and for 9-g maneuvers on full internal fuel. This proved advantageous when the aircraft’s mission was changed from solely air-to-air combat to multi-role operations. Changes over time in actual versus planned operational usage and continued weight growth due to the addition of further systems have required several structural strengthening programs.

Aerodynamic studies in the early 1960s demonstrated that the phenomenon known as “vortex lift” could be beneficially harnessed by the adoption of highly swept wing configurations to reach higher angles of attack through use of the strong leading edge vortex flow off a slender lifting surface. Since the F-16 was being optimized for high agility in air combat, GD’s designers chose a slender cropped-delta wing with a leading edge sweep of 40° and a straight trailing edge. To improve its ability to perform in a wide range of maneuvers, a variable-camber wing with a NACA 64A-204 airfoil was selected. The camber is adjusted through the use of leading-edge and trailing edge flaperons linked to a digital flight control system (FCS) that automatically adjusts them throughout the flight envelope. The F-16 has a moderate wing loading, which is lower when fuselage lift is considered.

This vortex lift effect can be increased by the addition of an extension of the leading edge of the wing at its root, the juncture with the fuselage, known as a strake. The strakes act as a sort of additional slender, elongated, short-span, triangular wing running from the actual wing root to a point further forward on the fuselage. Blended fillet-like into the fuselage, including along with the wing root, the strake generates a high-speed vortex that remains attached to the top of the wing as the angle of attack increases, thereby generating additional lift. This allows the aircraft to achieve angles of attack beyond the point at which it would normally stall. The use of strakes also allows a smaller, lower-aspect-ratio wing, which in turn increases roll rates and directional stability, while decreasing aircraft weight. The resulting deeper wingroots also increase structural strength and rigidity, reduce structural weight, and increase internal fuel volume.

The F-16 was the first production fighter aircraft intentionally designed to be slightly aerodynamically unstable. This technique, called "relaxed static stability" (RSS), was incorporated to further enhance the aircraft’s maneuver performance. Most aircraft are designed with positive static stability, which induces an aircraft to return to its original attitude following a disturbance. This hampers maneuverability, as the tendency to remain in its current attitude opposes the pilot’s effort to maneuver; on the other hand, an aircraft with negative static stability will, in the absence of control input, readily deviate from level and controlled flight. Therefore, an aircraft with negative static stability will be more maneuverable than one that is positively stable. When supersonic, a negatively stable aircraft actually exhibits a more positive-trending (and in the F-16’s case, a net positive) static stability due to aerodynamic forces shifting aft between subsonic and supersonic flight. At subsonic speeds the fighter is constantly on the verge of going out of control.

To counter this tendency to depart from controlled flight—and avoid the need for constant minute trimming inputs by the pilot, the F-16 has a quadruplex (four-channel) fly-by-wire (FBW) flight control system (FLCS). The flight control computer (FLCC), which is the key component of the FLCS, accepts the pilot’s input from the stick and rudder controls, and manipulates the control surfaces in such a way as to produce the desired result without inducing a loss of control. The FLCC also takes thousands of measurements per second of the aircraft’s attitude, and automatically makes corrections to counter deviations from the flight path that were not input by the pilot; coordinated turn is also obtained in such a way that it updates itself by thousands of instructions and produces the required control deflection that comes from dynamics of F-16, thereby allowing for stable flight. This has led to a common aphorism among F-16 pilots: “You don’t fly an F-16; it flies you.”

The FLCC further incorporates a series of limiters that govern movement in the three main axes based on the jet’s current attitude, airspeed and angle of attack, and prevent movement of the control surfaces that would induce an instability such as a slip or skid, or a high angle of attack inducing a stall. The limiters also act to prevent maneuvering that would place more than a 9 g load on the pilot or airframe.

Though the FLCC's limiters work well to limit each axis of movement, it was discovered in early production flight testing that "assaulting" multiple limiters at high angles of attack and low speed can result in angles of attack far exceeding the 25-degree threshold of limiting. This is colloquially referred to as simply "departing". Depending on the attitude of the aircraft, it may settle into a deep stall; a near-freefall at 50° to 60° AOA, either upright or inverted. In this "pocket" of very high AOA, the aircraft's attitude is stable, but being far above stall AOA, the control surfaces do not operate effectively. Further, the pitch limiter of the jet, sensing the high AOA, "freezes" the stabilators in an extreme pitch-up or pitch-down in an attempt to recover. To recover, an override is provided that disables the pitch-limiting, which then allows the pilot to "rock" the aircraft's nose up and down using pitch control, eventually overcoming the 50° threshold and achieving a nose-down attitude which will reduce AOA and allow a return to controlled flight.

Unlike the YF-17 which featured a FBW system with traditional hydromechanical controls serving as a backup, the F-16’s designers took the innovative step of eliminating mechanical linkages between the stick and rudder pedals and the aerodynamic control surfaces. The F-16’s sole reliance on electronics and wires to relay flight commands, instead of the usual cables and mechanical linkage controls, gained the F-16 the early moniker of "the electric jet". The quadruplex design permits “graceful degradation” in flight control response in that the loss of one channel renders the FLCS a “triplex” system. The FLCC began as an analog system on the A/B variants, but has been supplanted by a digital computer system beginning with the F-16C/D Block 40.

The F-16 program has suffered from controls that were sensitive to static electricity or electrostatic discharge (ESD), including 70–80% of the electronics on the C/D models sensitive to ESD in the early 1980s.

The F-16A/B was originally equipped with the Westinghouse AN/APG-66 fire-control radar. Its slotted planar-array antenna was designed to be sufficiently compact to fit into the F-16’s relatively small nose. In uplook mode, the APG-66 uses a low pulse-repetition frequency (PRF) for medium- and high-altitude target detection in a low-clutter environment, and in downlook employs a medium PRF for heavy clutter environments. It has four operating frequencies within the X band, and provides four air-to-air and seven air-to-ground operating modes for combat, even at night or in bad weather. The Block 15’s APG-66(V)2 model added a new, more powerful signal processor, higher output power, improved reliability, and increased range in a clutter or jamming environments. The Mid-Life Update (MLU) program further upgrades this to the APG-66(V)2A model, which features higher speed and memory.

The AN/APG-68, an evolution of the APG-66, was introduced with the F-16C/D Block 25. The APG-68 has greater range and resolution, as well as 25 operating modes, including ground-mapping, Doppler beam-sharpening, ground moving target, sea target, and track-while-scan (TWS) for up to 10 targets. The Block 40/42’s APG-68(V)1 model added full compatibility with Lockheed Martin Low-Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infra-Red for Night (LANTIRN) pods, and a high-PRF pulse-Doppler track mode to provide continuous-wave (CW) target illumination for semi-active radar-homing (SARH) missiles like the AIM-7 Sparrow. The Block 50/52 F-16s initially received the more reliable APG-68(V)5 which has a programmable signal processor employing Very-High-Speed Integrated Circuit (VHSIC) technology. The Advanced Block 50/52 (or 50+/52+) are equipped with the APG-68(V)9 radar which has a 30% greater air-to-air detection range, and a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mode for high-resolution mapping and target detection and recognition. In August 2004, Northrop Grumman received a contract to begin upgrading the APG-68 radars of the Block 40/42/50/52 aircraft to the (V)10 standard, which will provide the F-16 with all-weather autonomous detection and targeting for the use of Global Positioning System (GPS)-aided precision weapons. It also adds SAR mapping and terrain-following (TF) modes, as well as interleaving of all modes.

The F-16E/F is outfitted with Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-80 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, making it only the third fighter to be so equipped. Northrop Grumman is continuing development upon this latest radar, to form the Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR). In July 2007, Raytheon announced that it was developing a new Raytheon Next Generation Radar (RANGR) based on its earlier AN/APG-79 AESA radar as an alternative candidate to Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-68 and AN/APG-80 for the F-16.

The powerplant first selected for the single-engined F-16 was the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 afterburning turbofan, a slightly modified version of the F100-PW-100 used by the F-15. Rated at 23,830 lbf (106.0 kN) thrust, it remained the standard F-16 engine through the Block 25, except for new-build Block 15s with the Operational Capability Upgrade (OCU). The OCU introduced the 23,770 lbf (105.7 kN) F100-PW-220, which was also installed on Block 32 and 42 aircraft; the main difference being a Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC) unit, which improved engine reliability and reduced the risk of engine stalls. Added to the F-16 production line in 1988, the "-220" also supplanted the F-15’s "-100," increasing commonality. Many of the "-220" jet engines on Block 25 and later aircraft were upgraded from mid-1997 to the "-220E" standard, which enhanced reliability and engine maintainability; the changes allowed for a 35% reduction of unscheduled engine removals.

Development of the F100-PW-220/220E was the result of the USAF’s Alternate Fighter Engine (AFE) program (colloquially known as “the Great Engine War”), which also saw the entry of General Electric as an F-16 engine provider. Its F110-GE-100 turbofan required modification of the F-16’s inlet; the original inlet limited the GE jet’s maximum thrust to 25,735 lbf (114.5 kN), while the new Modular Common Inlet Duct allowed the F110 to achieve its maximum thrust of 28,984 lbf (128.9 kN) in afterburner. (To distinguish between aircraft equipped with these two engines and inlets, from the Block 30 series on, blocks ending in "0" (e.g., Block 30) are powered by GE, and blocks ending in "2" (e.g., Block 32) are fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines.)

Further development by these competitors under the Increased Performance Engine (IPE) effort led to the 29,588 lbf (131.6 kN) F110-GE-129 on the Block 50 and 29,160 lbf (129.4 kN) F100-PW-229 on the Block 52. F-16s began flying with these IPE engines on 22 October 1991 and 22 October 1992, respectively. Altogether, of the 1,446 F-16C/Ds ordered by the USAF, 556 were fitted with F100-series engines and 890 with F110s. The United Arab Emirates’ Block 60 is powered by the General Electric F110-GE-132 turbofan, which is rated at a maximum thrust of 32,500 lbf (144.6 kN), the highest ever developed for the F-16 aircraft.

Due to their ubiquity, F-16s have participated in numerous conflicts, most of them in the Middle East.

The F-16 is being used by the USAF active, reserve, and Air National Guard units, the USAF aerial demonstration team, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and as an adversary/aggressor aircraft by the United States Navy.

The U.S. Air Force has flown the F-16 in combat during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and in the Balkans later in the 1990s. F-16s have patrolled the no fly zones in Iraq during Northern Watch and Southern Watch. They have served during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the 2000s. Most recently, the U.S. has deployed them to enforce the no-fly zone in Libya.

The F-16 is scheduled to remain in service with the U.S. Air Force until 2025. The planned replacement is the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, which will gradually begin replacing a number of multirole aircraft among the program's member nations.

The F-16's first air-to-air combat success was achieved by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) over the Bekaa Valley on 28 April 1981, against a Syrian Mi-8 helicopter, which was downed with cannon fire. On 7 June 1981, eight Israeli F-16s, escorted by F-15s, executed Operation Opera, their first employment in a significant air-to-ground operation. This raid severely damaged Osirak, an Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction near Baghdad, to prevent the regime of Saddam Hussein from using the reactor for the creation of nuclear weapons.

The following year, during Operation Peace for Galilee (Lebanon War) Israeli F-16s engaged Syrian aircraft in one of the largest air battles involving jet aircraft, which began on 9 June and continued for two more days. Israeli Air Force F-16s were credited with numerous air-to-air kills during the conflict. F-16s were also used in their ground-attack role for strikes against targets in Lebanon. IAF F-16s participated in the 2006 Lebanon War and during the attacks in the Gaza strip in December 2008.

During the Soviet-Afghan war, between May 1986 and January 1989, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16s shot down at least 10 intruders from Afghanistan.

The Pakistan Air Force has used its F-16s in various foreign and internal military exercises, such as the "Indus Vipers" exercise in 2008 conducted jointly with Turkey. Since May 2009, the PAF has also been using their F-16 fleet to attack militant positions and support the Pakistan Army's operations in North-West Pakistan against the Taliban insurgency.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force, Belgian Air Force, Turkish Air Force, Royal Danish Air Force, and Royal Norwegian Air Force, and Venezuela have flown the F-16 on combat missions. A Dutch F-16AM shot down a Serbian MiG-29 during the Kosovo War in 1999. Belgian and Danish F-16s also supported operations in Kosovo.




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Aversa, R., R.V. Petrescu, F.I.T. Petrescu and A. Apicella, 2016c. Smart-factory: Optimization and process control of composite centrifuged pipes. Am. J. Applied Sci., 13: 1330-1341.

Aversa, R., F. Tamburrino, R.V. Petrescu, F.I.T. Petrescu and M. Artur et al., 2016d. Biomechanically inspired shape memory effect machines driven by muscle like acting NiTi alloys. Am. J. Applied Sci., 13: 1264-1271.

Aversa, R., E.M. Buzea, R.V. Petrescu, A. Apicella and M. Neacsa et al., 2016e. Present a mechatronic system having able to determine the concentration of carotenoids. Am. J. Eng. Applied Sci., 9: 1106-1111.

Aversa, R., R.V. Petrescu, R. Sorrentino, F.I.T. Petrescu and A. Apicella, 2016f. Hybrid ceramo-polymeric nanocomposite for biomimetic scaffolds design and preparation. Am. J. Eng. Applied Sci., 9: 1096-1105.

Aversa, R., V. Perrotta, R.V. Petrescu, C. Misiano and F.I.T. Petrescu et al., 2016g. From structural colors to super-hydrophobicity and achromatic transparent protective coatings: Ion plating plasma assisted TiO2 and SiO2 Nano-film deposition. Am. J. Eng. Applied Sci., 9: 1037-1045.

Aversa, R., R.V. Petrescu, F.I.T. Petrescu and A. Apicella, 2016h Biomimetic and Evolutionary Design Driven Innovation in Sustainable Products Development, Am. J. Eng. Applied Sci., 9: 1027-1036.

Aversa, R., R.V. Petrescu, A. Apicella and F.I.T. Petrescu, 2016i. Mitochondria are naturally micro robots-a review. Am. J. Eng. Applied Sci., 9: 991-1002.

Aversa, R., R.V. Petrescu, A. Apicella and F.I.T. Petrescu, 2016j. We are addicted to vitamins C and E-A review. Am. J. Eng. Applied Sci., 9: 1003-1018.

Aversa, R., R.V. Petrescu, A. Apicella and F.I.T. Petrescu, 2016k. Physiologic human fluids and swelling behavior of hydrophilic biocompatible hybrid ceramo-polymeric materials. Am. J. Eng. Applied Sci., 9: 962-972.

Aversa, R., R.V. Petrescu, A. Apicella and F.I.T. Petrescu, 2016l. One can slow down the aging through antioxidants. Am. J. Eng. Applied Sci., 9: 1112-1126.

Aversa, R., R.V. Petrescu, A. Apicella and F.I.T. Petrescu, 2016m. About homeopathy or jSimilia similibus curenturk. Am. J. Eng. Applied Sci., 9: 1164-1172.

Aversa, R., R.V. Petrescu, A. Apicella and F.I.T. Petrescu, 2016n. The basic elements of life's. Am. J. Eng. Applied Sci., 9: 1189-1197.

Aversa, R., F.I.T. Petrescu, R.V. Petrescu and A. Apicella, 2016o. Flexible stem trabecular prostheses. Am. J. Eng. Applied Sci., 9: 1213-1221.

Mirsayar, M.M., V.A. Joneidi, R.V.V. Petrescu,    F.I.T. Petrescu and F. Berto, 2017 Extended MTSN criterion for fracture analysis of soda lime glass. Eng. Fracture Mechanics 178: 50-59.     DOI: 10.1016/j.engfracmech.2017.04.018

Petrescu, R.V. and F.I. Petrescu, 2013a. Lockheed Martin. 1st Edn., CreateSpace, pp: 114.

Petrescu, R.V. and F.I. Petrescu, 2013b. Northrop. 1st Edn., CreateSpace, pp: 96.

Petrescu, R.V. and F.I. Petrescu, 2013c. The Aviation History or New Aircraft I Color. 1st Edn., CreateSpace, pp: 292.

Petrescu, F.I. and R.V. Petrescu, 2012. New Aircraft II. 1st Edn., Books On Demand, pp: 138.

Petrescu, F.I. and R.V. Petrescu, 2011. Memories About Flight. 1st Edn., CreateSpace, pp: 652.

Petrescu, F.I.T., 2009. New aircraft. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Computational Mechanics, Oct. 29-30, Brasov, Romania.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2016a Otto Motor Dynamics, GEINTEC-GESTAO INOVACAO E TECNOLOGIAS, 6(3):3392-3406.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2016b Dynamic Cinematic to a Structure 2R, GEINTEC-GESTAO INOVACAO E TECNOLOGIAS, 6(2):3143-3154.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2014a Cam Gears Dynamics in the Classic Distribution, Independent Journal of Management & Production, 5(1):166-185.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2014b High Efficiency Gears Synthesis by Avoid the Interferences, Independent Journal of Management & Production, 5(2):275-298.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu R.V., 2014c Gear Design, ENGEVISTA, 16(4):313-328.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2014d Balancing Otto Engines, International Review of Mechanical Engineering 8(3):473-480.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2014e Machine Equations to the Classical Distribution, International Review of Mechanical Engineering 8(2):309-316.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2014f Forces of Internal Combustion Heat Engines, International Review on Modelling and Simulations 7(1):206-212.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2014g Determination of the Yield of Internal Combustion Thermal Engines, International Review of Mechanical Engineering 8(1):62-67.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2014h Cam Dynamic Synthesis, Al-Khwarizmi Engineering Journal, 10(1):1-23.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu R.V., 2013a Dynamic Synthesis of the Rotary Cam and Translated Tappet with Roll, ENGEVISTA  15(3):325-332.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2013b Cams with High Efficiency, International Review of Mechanical Engineering 7(4):599-606.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2013c An Algorithm for Setting the Dynamic Parameters of the Classic Distribution Mechanism, International Review on Modelling and Simulations 6(5B):1637-1641.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2013d Dynamic Synthesis of the Rotary Cam and Translated Tappet with Roll, International Review on Modelling and Simulations 6(2B):600-607.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2013e Forces and Efficiency of Cams, International Review of Mechanical Engineering 7(3):507-511.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2012a Echilibrarea motoarelor termice, Create Space publisher, USA, November 2012, ISBN 978-1-4811-2948-0, 40 pages, Romanian edition.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2012b Camshaft Precision, Create Space publisher, USA, November 2012, ISBN 978-1-4810-8316-4, 88 pages, English edition.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2012c Motoare termice, Create Space publisher, USA, October 2012, ISBN 978-1-4802-0488-1, 164 pages, Romanian edition.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2011a Dinamica mecanismelor de distributie, Create Space publisher, USA, December 2011, ISBN 978-1-4680-5265-7, 188 pages, Romanian version.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2011b Trenuri planetare, Create Space publisher, USA, December 2011, ISBN 978-1-4680-3041-9, 204 pages, Romanian version.

Petrescu, F.I., Petrescu, R.V., 2011c Gear Solutions, Create Space publisher, USA, November 2011, ISBN 978-1-4679-8764-6, 72 pages, English version.

Petrescu, F.I. and R.V. Petrescu, 2005. Contributions at the dynamics of cams. Proceedings of the 9th IFToMM International Symposium on Theory of Machines and Mechanisms, (TMM’ 05), Bucharest, Romania, pp: 123-128.

Petrescu, F. and R. Petrescu, 1995. Contributii la sinteza mecanismelor de distributie ale motoarelor cu ardere internã. Proceedings of the ESFA Conferinta, (ESFA’ 95), Bucuresti, pp: 257-264.

Petrescu, FIT., 2015a Geometrical Synthesis of the Distribution Mechanisms, American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 8(1):63-81. DOI: 10.3844/ajeassp.2015.63.81

Petrescu, FIT., 2015b Machine Motion Equations at the Internal Combustion Heat Engines, American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 8(1):127-137. DOI: 10.3844/ajeassp.2015.127.137

Petrescu, F.I., 2012b Teoria mecanismelor – Curs si aplicatii (editia a doua), Create Space publisher, USA, September 2012, ISBN 978-1-4792-9362-9, 284 pages, Romanian version, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2917.1926

Petrescu, F.I., 2008. Theoretical and applied contributions about the dynamic of planar mechanisms with superior joints. PhD Thesis, Bucharest Polytechnic University.

Petrescu, FIT.; Calautit, JK.; Mirsayar, M.; Marinkovic, D.; 2015 Structural Dynamics of the Distribution Mechanism with Rocking Tappet with Roll, American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 8(4):589-601. DOI: 10.3844/ajeassp.2015.589.601

Petrescu, FIT.; Calautit, JK.; 2016 About Nano Fusion and Dynamic Fusion, American Journal of Applied Sciences, 13(3):261-266.

Petrescu, R.V.V., R. Aversa, A. Apicella, F. Berto and S. Li et al., 2016a. Ecosphere protection through green energy. Am. J. Applied Sci., 13: 1027-1032. DOI: 10.3844/ajassp.2016.1027.1032

Petrescu, F.I.T., A. Apicella, R.V.V. Petrescu, S.P. Kozaitis and R.B. Bucinell et al., 2016b. Environmental protection through nuclear energy. Am. J. Applied Sci., 13: 941-946.

Petrescu, Relly Victoria; Aversa, Raffaella; Akash, Bilal; Bucinell, Ronald; Corchado, Juan; Berto, Filippo; Mirsayar, MirMilad; Apicella, Antonio; Petrescu, Florian Ion Tiberiu; 2017a Modern Propulsions for Aerospace-A Review, Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology, 1(1).

Petrescu, Relly Victoria; Aversa, Raffaella; Akash, Bilal; Bucinell, Ronald; Corchado, Juan; Berto, Filippo; Mirsayar, MirMilad; Apicella, Antonio; Petrescu, Florian Ion Tiberiu; 2017b Modern Propulsions for Aerospace-Part II, Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology, 1(1).

Petrescu, Relly Victoria; Aversa, Raffaella; Akash, Bilal; Bucinell, Ronald; Corchado, Juan; Berto, Filippo; Mirsayar, MirMilad; Apicella, Antonio; Petrescu, Florian Ion Tiberiu; 2017c History of Aviation-A Short Review, Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology, 1(1).

Petrescu, Relly Victoria; Aversa, Raffaella; Akash, Bilal; Bucinell, Ronald; Corchado, Juan; Berto, Filippo; Mirsayar, MirMilad; Apicella, Antonio; Petrescu, Florian Ion Tiberiu; 2017d Lockheed Martin-A Short Review, Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology, 1(1).

Petrescu, Relly Victoria; Aversa, Raffaella; Akash, Bilal; Corchado, Juan; Berto, Filippo; Mirsayar, MirMilad; Apicella, Antonio; Petrescu, Florian Ion Tiberiu; 2017e Our Universe, Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology, 1(1).

Petrescu, Relly Victoria; Aversa, Raffaella; Akash, Bilal; Corchado, Juan; Berto, Filippo; Mirsayar, MirMilad; Apicella, Antonio; Petrescu, Florian Ion Tiberiu; 2017f What is a UFO?, Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology, 1(1).

Petrescu, RV., Aversa, R., Akash, B., Corchado, J., Berto, F., Mirsayar, MM., Apicella, A., Petrescu, FIT., 2017 About Bell Helicopter FCX-001 Concept Aircraft-A Short Review, Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology, 1(1).

Petrescu, RV., Aversa, R., Akash, B., Corchado, J., Berto, F., Mirsayar, MM., Apicella, A., Petrescu, FIT., 2017 Home at Airbus, Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology, 1(1).

Petrescu, RV., Aversa, R., Akash, B., Corchado, J., Berto, F., Mirsayar, MM., Kozaitis, S., Abu-Lebdeh, T., Apicella, A., Petrescu, FIT., 2017 Airlander, Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology, 1(1).

Petrescu, RV., Aversa, R., Akash, B., Corchado, J., Berto, F., Apicella, A., Petrescu, FIT., 2017 When Boeing is Dreaming – a Review, Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology, 1(1).


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About Article Author

Relly Victoria Virgil Petrescu
Relly Victoria Virgil Petrescu

Ph.D. Eng. Relly Victoria V. PETRESCU

Senior Lecturer at UPB (Bucharest Polytechnic University), Transport, Traffic and Logistics department,

Citizenship: Romanian;

Date of birth: March.13.1958;

Higher education: Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Faculty of Transport, Road Vehicles Department, graduated in 1982, with overall average 9.50;

Doctoral Thesis: "Contributions to analysis and synthesis of mechanisms with bars and sprocket".

Expert in Industrial Design, Engineering Mechanical Design, Engines Design, Mechanical Transmissions, Projective and descriptive geometry, Technical drawing, CAD, Automotive engineering, Vehicles, Transportations.



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