General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

1974 multi-role fighter aircraft family by General Dynamics
(Redirected from F-16)

The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a one-engine multirole combat aircraft. It was originally designed and built by General Dynamics, which is now part of Lockheed Martin.[5][6] The United States Air Force (USAF) ordered the F-16 in 1972. The airplane first flew four years later in 1976. Over 4,600 F-16s have been built since then.[7] The airplane has been used by more than 25 air forces around the world.[8] It is also used by the Thunderbirds, the USAF's aerobatics team. As of 2015, there are more F-16s in military use than any other fixed-wing aircraft.[9]

F-16 Fighting Falcon
Airplane flying over desert, carrying fuel and weapons
A US Air Force F-16C over Iraq in 2008
Role Multirole fighter, air superiority fighter
National origin United States
Manufacturer General Dynamics
Lockheed Martin
First flight 20 January 1974; 50 years ago (1974-01-20) (unplanned)
2 February 1974; 50 years ago (1974-02-02) (official)
Introduction 17 August 1978; 45 years ago (1978-08-17)
Status In service
Primary users United States Air Force
25 other users
Produced 1973–2017, 2019–present[1]
Number built 4,604 (June 2018)[2][3]
Unit cost
F-16A/B: US$14.6 million (1998) [4]
F-16C/D: US$18.8 million (1998)[4]
Developed into Vought Model 1600
General Dynamics F-16XL
Mitsubishi F-2



The F-16 is able to fly at twice the speed of sound. It is armed with a M61 Vulcan Gatling gun and has eleven places where weapons or other equipment can be attached. It was the first production combat airplane to be designed to be unstable to be easier to turn, and has easier controls to make it highly agile in the air. Its designers also used many other new ideas such as a bubble canopy to help the pilot see better and a control stick on the side of the cockpit to make it easier to steer during tight turns and high g-forces.

The F-16's official name is "Fighting Falcon", but it is often called the "Viper" by its pilots and crews. The nickname came from the fact that the viper snake is known for its deadly fangs and venom, and because the Colonial Viper spacecraft from Battlestar Galactica was popular when the airplane was introduced to the USAF.[10][11][12]

Map with F-16 users in blue with former operator in red
F-16C block 52 of the Greece

Past users

  •   ItalyItalian Air Force leased up to 30 F-16As and 4 F-16Bs from the US Air Force from 2001 until 2012.


  1. Weisgerber, Marcus (22 March 2007). "Lockheed to Move F-16 Production to South Carolina". Defense One. Archived from the original on 23 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  2. "How the F-16 fighter jet put Fort Worth on the aerospace map". Archived from the original on 24 November 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  3. "Lockheed Martin Awarded Contract to Build F-16 Block 70 Aircraft for Bahrain". Archived from the original on 29 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "F-16 Fact Sheet". U.S. Air Force. 23 September 2015. Archived from the original on 29 January 2017. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  5. Rosenwald, Michael S. "Downside of Dominance? Popularity of Lockheed Martin's F-16 Makes Its F-35 Stealth Jet a Tough Sell." Archived 14 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine Washington Post, updated 17 December 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  6. "Company Histories – Lockheed Martin Corporation". Funding universe. Archived from the original on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  7. "Lockheed Martin to deliver 4,500th F-16 fighter". McClatchy DC. 2012-04-02. Archived from the original on 31 July 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  8. Stout, Joe and Laurie Quincy. "United States Government Awards Lockheed Martin Contract to Begin Production of Advanced F-16 Aircraft for Morocco." Archived 4 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine Lockheed Martin press release, 8 June 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  9. "Strength in numbers: The World's Top 10 military aircraft types". Flight global. Reed Business Information. 9 January 2015. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  10. Aleshire 2005, p. xxii.
  11. Peacock 1997, p. 100.
  12. "F-16 Fighting Falcon". Lockheed Martin. 23 May 2018. Retrieved 14 October 2019.