F-16 Fighting Falcon
Published February 13, 2019
The F-16 Falcon is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft.
Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft.
The F-16 has key features 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, which helps to make it a nimble aircraft. The F-16 was built under an unusual agreement creating a consortium between the United States and four NATO countries: Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway. These countries jointly produced with the United States an initial 348 F-16s for their air forces. The long-term benefits of this program include technology transfer among nations producing the F-16, and a common-use aircraft for NATO nations. This program increases the supply and availability of repair parts in Europe and improves the F-16's combat readiness.
The F-16's official name is "Fighting Falcon", but "Viper" is commonly used by its pilots and crews, due to a perceived resemblance to a viper snake as well as the Colonial Viper starfighter on Battlestar Galactica.
The F-16 has also been procured to serve in the air forces of 25 other nations. As of 2015, it is the most numerous currently operational military fixed-wing aircraft in the world.
Due to their ubiquity, F-16s have participated in numerous conflicts, most of them in the Middle East.