Thursday, June 23, 2011

F-16 Fighting Falcon

| Thursday, June 23, 2011 | 0 comments

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is single-engined, supersonic, multi-role tactical jet fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as a lightweight day fighter, 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, F-16 Fighting Falcon sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation, which in turn became part of Lockheed Martin after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta. More than 4,400 F-16s have been produced for 25 countries with 53 follow-on buys by 14 customers.

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.

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.

Crew: 1
Length: 49 ft 5 in (15.06 m)
Wingspan: 32 ft 8 in (9.96 m)
Height: 16 ft (4.88 m)
Wing area: 300 ft² (27.87 m²)
Airfoil: NACA 64A204 root and tip
Empty weight: 18,900 lb (8,570 kg)
Loaded weight: 26,500 lb (12,000 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 42,300 lb (19,200 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × F110-GE-100 afterburning turbofan
Dry thrust: 17,155 lbf (76.3 kN)
Thrust with afterburner: 28,600 lbf (127 kN)
Maximum speed: At sea level: Mach 1.2 (915 mph, 1,470 km/h), At altitude: Mach 2+ (1,500 mph, 2,410 km/h) clean configuration
Combat radius: 340 mi (295 nmi, 550 km) on a hi-lo-hi mission with six 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs
Ferry range: 2,280 NM (2,620 mi, 4,220 km) with drop tanks
Service ceiling: 60,000+ ft (18,000+ m)
Rate of climb: 50,000 ft/min (254 m/s)
Wing loading: 88.3 lb/ft² (431 kg/m²)
Thrust/weight: 1.095
Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61 Vulcan 6-barreled gatling cannon, 511 rounds
Hardpoints: 2× wing-tip Air-to-air missile launch rails, 6× under-wing & 3× under-fuselage pylon stations holding up to 17,000 lb (7,700 kg) of payload
Rockets: 4× LAU-61/LAU-68 rocket pods (each with 19× /7× Hydra 70 mm rockets, respectively) or 4× LAU-5003 rocket pods (each with 19× CRV7 70 mm rockets) or 4× LAU-10 rocket pods (each with 4× Zuni 127 mm rockets)
Air-to-air missiles: 2× AIM-7 Sparrow or 6× AIM-9 Sidewinder or 6× IRIS-T or 6× AIM-120 AMRAAM or 6× Python-4
Air-to-ground missiles: 6× AGM-45 Shrike or 6× AGM-65 Maverick or 4× AGM-88 HARM
Anti-ship missiles: 2× AGM-84 Harpoon, 4× AGM-119 Penguin
Bombs: 8× CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition, 8× CBU-89 Gator mine, 8× CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon, Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser capable, 4× GBU-10 Paveway II, 6× GBU-12 Paveway II, 4× JDAM, 4× Mark 84 general-purpose bombs, 8× Mark 83 GP bombs, 12× Mark 82 GP bombs, 8× Small Diameter Bomb, 3× B61 nuclear bomb
Avionics: AN/APG-68 radar


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