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15 Facts About The F-16 The US Army Wants To Keep On The DL

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The F-16 or the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon was developed by General Dynamics (now part of Lockheed Martin) for the United States Air Force. The decision came after the Vietnam war when results dictated that the USAF needed better fighter jets. The F-16 is a day fighter which means it does not come equipped with night flying or fighting technologies and boasts air superiority. Along with being used by the United States Air Force, F-16s are also used by the United States Navy as well as the US Air Force Thunderbirds. There is something special about the F-16. It’s a favored fighter jet not just in the US, but also air forces of various nations around the world.

Like with anything military, the F-16 hides many secrets. Though, most of them have now become common knowledge now thanks to the Internet. That doesn’t mean the US Army is happy about it. Here are 15 such facts…

15. Before The Maiden Flight, There Was An Accidental One

via ThisDayInAviation

The official first flight of the F-16 (then the YF-16) was a 90-minute one, and took place at the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC), California on February 2, 1974. However, the actual first flight was an unplanned one made on January 20, 1974, during a high-speed taxi test where the pilot lifted-off to avoid damaging the jet.

14. Reaching 9Gs Was A First For The F-16

via TheNationalInterest

The F-16 became the first fighter jet in the world to pull 9G maneuvers, simply because it was purposefully built to do so. Its aerodynamic design reduces drag and energy loss when it pulls high-Gs, and it was also the first supersonic jet to reach speeds of over Mach 2.

13. The F-16 Pilot Has Perfect Vision

via Pinterest

With the enemy on your tail in the sky, perfect vision comes in handy. And the F-16’s frameless bubble canopy constructed out of single-piece polycarbonate (which is fully bird-proof) gives 360-degree all-round visibility. It also gives the pilot a 40-degree look-down angle on the sides and a 15-degree one over the nose of the craft.

12. The F-16 Is Called The Viper

via Pinterest

The F-16 came to be referred to as the Falcon, which makes sense considering it’s nothing short of a predator in the sky. But many still call it Viper because of its resemblance to the head of a snake. Oh, and it totally looks like the Colonial Viper starfighter of Battlestar Galactica. The award given out to outstanding F-16 pilots is therefore Semper Viper award.

11. There Aren’t Too Many F-16s

via Wikipedia

The F-16 became a USAF favorite for one main reason, and that was the price. A single unit in 1998 cost $18.8million, which may sound a lot, but is cheap by fighter jet standards. As of now, some 4,588 F-16s have been built in total, according to American Machinist.

10. F-16s Are Highly Manoeuvrable

via Wikipedia

The F-16s come equipped with a fly-by-wire control system, the first of its kind. It replaced the completely manual controls with an electronic interface that judged how much the plane needed to dip or roll and then moved the actuators at the control surface accordingly to provide that result.

9. It Is Also Deliberately Unstable

via AIRMANMagazine

Along with the fly-by-wire, the F-16 also came with relaxed static stability – which means if the pilot releases the controls, the F-16 does not go back to straight and level flight altitude. It harmonically oscillates until the pilot takes action, and this increases maneuverability – which, in a fighter jet, is boss of just about everything.

8. The Weapon System Is Scary

via Steemit

A fighter jet comes loaded with anything that can destroy. An internal M61 Vulcan cannon for strafing and close combat as well as 11 locations for mounting weapons etc are standard equipment. The F-16 can carry a wide variety of air-to-ground missiles, electronic countermeasures, rockets and bombs, weapon pods, and nine hardpoint-mounted fuel tanks as well.

7. The Vortex Lift Was A First Too

via F-16Net

The F-16 was also the first fighter jet to use vortex lift by special strakes designed on the wings’ edges – this lets the F-16 lift off at high angles even in tight spaces. This feature comes in handy by letting the F-16 climb high altitudes quickly, thus reaching angles-of-attack a lot faster than other fighter jets.

6. It Is Amazingly Easy To Service

via MilitaryNews

The F-16 may be tough to fly and need special skills from pilots to run smoothly but their servicing is a lot easier than other fighter jets. More than 80% of the access panels in the F-16 can be opened without the need for a ladder or a stand. It makes a technician’s job that much easier and faster.

5. The First Kill Was Made By Israel

via ABPic

Even though the F-16 is more of a USAF homeboy, it made its first kill at the hands of the Israeli Air Force. On April 28, 1981, an F-16 Fighting Falcon of the Israeli Air Force took down a Syrian Mi-8 helicopter with cannon fire. One year down, the Israeli Air Force used the F-16 to shoot down another fighter jet as well.

4. It’s The World’s Favorite Fighter Jet

via SteamCommunity

While there are only 4,588 F-16s in the world – it is the world’s second most plentiful military craft, second only to the Sikorsky UH-60 military helicopter. The F-16 is used by militaries of 28 countries, with almost 3,000 in use by the air force of countries like Bahrain, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, Slovakia and more.

3. It Was Massively Used In Operation Desert Storm

via 301stFighterWing

For the USAF, F-16s actively participated in combat in the 1991 Gulf War. During Operation Desert Storm alone, 249 USAF F-16s flew 13,340 sorties to engage the enemy. They battled with Iraq in the air and engaged ground targets as well. Only three F-16s were lost to enemy action, 246 returned home safe.

2. There Is Now An F-16 Drone

via PopularMechanics

The USAF, along with Lockheed Martin, has now developed unmanned F-16s. These “drones” have been tested to show accurate air-to-air and air-to-ground strikes. Even more exciting is that they can also interpret an air threat and accordingly adapt to complete the required mission. So are pilots a thing of the past now?

1. Want To Buy An F-16?

via Pinterest

According to Popular Mechanics, you can now legally buy an F-16. Exciting, right? But only if you have spare-change of $8.5 Million, that is. The aircraft on sale by a Florida company is from 1980 and has clocked 6,000 air miles – but will certainly come stripped of all its cool features – meaning weapons. Interested?

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