The F-16 is the world's best selling fighter jet. The Fighting Falcon was conceived from a USAF requirement for a small light weight fighter to complement the F-15 Eagle. On April 13th, 1972 a contract was given to General Dynamics and Northrop for each to build two prototypes. On December 13, 1973 the YF-16 (model 401) Prototype was rolled out from its Forth Worth, Texas factory to be shipped to Edwards AFB to be tested. Over the next 11 months the YF-16 and YF-17 went through extreme tests. The YF-16 achieved altitudes over 60,000ft, 9g maneuvers, and speeds in excess of Mach 2. The YF-16 flew against many American Fighters as well a captured MiG-21. The YF-16 proved that it can out-perform any current fighter. On January 15, 1975 the DoD announced that the F-16 was selected over the YF-17. The F-16 was also expanded for Air-Ground roles. General Dynamics tried to sell the plane to the Navy, but failed and the Navy selected the F/A-18 Hornet, derived from the YF-17.
Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Norway were waiting for the F-16 came into service so they can replace their aging F-104 StarFighters. Later the USAF equipped the F-16 with a far more capable radar, which the nose cone had to be enlarged. There were many differences between the F-16 and the YF-16 Prototype, which included 25% structural strength, the fuselage was increased by 13.7 inches, the wings were increased by 20sq.ft, and the horizontal tails by 15%. In 1982 the USAF Aerial Demonstration Squadron the "Thunderbirds"equipped themselves with the F-16 Fighting Falcon, replacing the T-38 Talon Trainers. The F-16 is official known as the Fighting Falcon, but to its pilots it's called the "Viper"or the "Electric Jet". Production of the A and B models for the USAF ended in 1985, which the C/D models rolled off the assembly line. The C/D models included a far more capable APG-68 Radar, a glass cockpit, and it can carry newer weapons, such as the AGM-65D Maverick, AGM-88 HARM, and the AIM-120 Amraam. the Two seat variant of the F-16 can carry a Lantrin pod (Low Altitude Navigations and Targeting for Infa-Red for Night).
Origin: Lockeed Martin Corporation, Forth Worth, Texas (formerly General Dynamics)
Type: Multirole Single Seat Fighter with Two-Seat Trainer
Engines: F100-PW-229 afterburning turbofan, 29000lb of Thrust
Lenth: 47Ft 7 3/4in
Height: 16Ft 8 1/2 Inches
Wing Area: 300sq.ft
Max Speed: Mach 1.7-1.8
Climb Rate: 50,000ft/min,
Combat Radius: 350-430nm
Armament: One 20mm M61A-1 Multi-Barrel Cannon with 515 Rounds, Fighter
Mission Typically two AIM-7 and two AIM-9
History: First (YF-16) Flight 20 January 1978, (A) 7 August 1978,(c/d) 1989
Users: USAF, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Turkey