F16 Fighter Jet
The F16 is a widely known fighter jet developed by the United States Air Force. It is called a multi-role jet fighter aircraft because it has the ability to be used both in aerial combat and in ground attack. F16’s were developed by the Americans in response to the need for greater air strength after the Vietnam and Korean Wars. This fighter jet has been successful in both the United States and around the world, it has been used in the air forces of 25 nations. There have been more then 4,400 of these jets built since its inception in 1976. It is still in production even though it is no longer purchased by the American Air Force.
Some of the innovations of the F-16, or Fighting Falcon as it is often called, include increased manoeuvrability and visibility when used in dog fighting. A dog fight is an aerial combat between two fighter crafts. It first appeared in World War I and has continued to be used in every major war since. In modern times, it is referred to as air combat manoeuvring and refers to attacking and evading enemies rather then aerial warfare which has more to do with strategy and planning of mission. The major innovations include a frameless, bubble canopy which provides better visibility for pilots. It also has a side mounted control stick for easier control and a reclined seat. Both of these alterations reduce the G-forces on the pilot and allow him to better control the aircraft. The jet is equipped with 11 hardpoints for carrying missiles, bombs, or pods.
The United States Air Force uses the F16 for its active duty, reserve, and national guard units. In addition it is used by the US Air Force Thunderbirds, a popular aerial demonstration team known worldwide for performing stunts and tricks at air shows. It is also used by the United States Navy. There are plans to retire this craft from the US Air Force in 2025 and replace it with the F-35 Lightening II. This craft will also eventually replace F16’s used in other nations’ air forces.
This craft is considered a lightweight aircraft as it weighs in at only 8,570 kg unloaded. Once loaded, it carries a maximum weight at takeoff of 19,200 kg. It carries only one crew member, the fighter pilot. The jet measures 15.06 meters with a wingspan of 9.96 meters and a height of 4.88 meters. At sea level it has the ability to reach speeds of 1,470 km/h and up to 2,410 km/h at altitude. Its’ combat radius is 550 km and the rate of climb is 254 m/s.
Most people are familiar with the F16 from various American films like The Sum of All Fears and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. However, it is also notable because of widely publicised accidents including a September 2009 Israeli Air Force training crash that killed pilot Assaf Ramon, son of Israel’s first astronaut and former F16 pilot Ilan Ramon who died in the US Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.