« Back to List

F-16 Fighting Falcon

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations.


Primary contractor: Lockheed Martin

Block versions

  • Block 25 added the ability to carry AMRAAM to the F-16 as well as night/precision ground-attack capabilities, as well as an improved radar, the Westinghouse (now Northrop-Grumman) AN/APG-68, with increased range, better resolution, and more operating modes.
  • Block 30/32 added two new engines - Block 30 designates a General Electric F110-GE-100 engine, and Block 32 designates a Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 engine. Block 30/32 can carry the AGM-45 Shrike and the AGM-88A HARM, and like the Block 25, it can carry the AGM-65 Maverick.
  • Block 40/42 - F-16CG/DG - gained capabilities for navigation and precision attack in all weather conditions and at night with the LANTIRN pods and more extensive air-to-ground loads, including the GBU-10, GBU-12, GBU-24 Paveway laser-guided bombs and the GBU-15. Block 40/42 production began in 1988 and ran through 1995. Currently, the Block 40s are being upgraded with several Block 50 systems: ALR-56M threat warning system, the ALE-47 advanced chaff/flare dispenser, an improved performance battery, and Falcon UP structural upgrade.
  • Block 50/52 Equipped with a Northrop Grumman APG-68(V)7 radar and a General Electric F110-GE-129 Increased Performance Engine, the aircraft are also capable of using the Lockheed Martin low-altitude navigation and targeting for night (LANTIRN) system. Technology enhancements include color multifunctional displays and programmable display generator, a new Modular Mission Computer, a Digital Terrain System, a new color video camera and color triple-deck video recorder to record the pilot's head-up display view, and an upgraded data transfer unit. By mid-1999 Block 50/52 [aka Block 50 Plus] F-16s will carry the CBU-103/104/105 Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispenser, the AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon, and the GBU-31/32 Joint Direct Attack Munition.
  • Block 50D/52D Wild Weasel F-16CJ (CJ means block 50) comes in C-Model (1 seat) and D-Model (2 seat) versions. It is best recognized for its ability to carry the AGM-88 HARM and the AN/ASQ-213 HARM Targeting System (HTS) in the suppression of enemy air defenses [SEAD] mission. The HTS allows HARM to be employed in the range-known mode providing longer range shots with greater target specificity. This specialized version of the F-16, which can also carry the ALQ-119 Electronic Jamming Pod for self protection, became the sole provider for Air Force SEAD missions when the F-4G Wild Weasel was retired from the Air Force inventory. The lethal SEAD mission now rests solely on the shoulders of the F-16 Harm Targeting System. Although F-18s and EA-6Bs are HARM capable, the F-16 provides the ability to use the HARM in its most effective mode. The original concept called for teaming the F-15 Precision Direction Finding (PDF) and the F-16 HTS. Because this teaming concept is no longer feasible, the current approach calls for the improvement of the HTS capability. The improvement will come from the Joint Emitter Targeting System (JETS), which facilitates the use of HARM's most effective mode when launched from any JETS capable aircraft.

Weapon systems

M61A1 Vulcan 20mm Gatling Cannon (500 rounds)
2 x Wingtip Hardpoint
» AIM-9 Sidewinder
» AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile
9 x Hardpoint (6 under-wing and 3 under-fuselage)
» AGM-65 Maverick
» AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile
» Mark 80 Series General Purpose Bomb
» Joint Direct Attack Munition
» AIM-9 Sidewinder
» AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile
» Paveway Guided Bomb Unit
» Guided Bomb Unit 28
» CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition
» CBU-89 GATOR Mine System
» CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon
» GBU-39B Small Diameter Bomb
» Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser
» AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon


Length: 15.3 meters 49.3 feet
Wingspan: 10 meters 32.8 feet
Height: 5.9 meters 16.7 feet
Wing area: 27.87 square meters 300 square feet
Empty weight: 9 207.9 kilograms 20 300 pounds
Maximum takeoff weight: 21 772 kilograms 48 000 pounds
Internal fuel: 2 685.2 kilograms 5 920 pounds
Power plant: one Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200/220/229 (or General Electric F110-GE-100/129)
Performance: 29 100 pounds for F100-PW-229 (29 500 pounds for F110-GE-129)
Speed: Mach 2 » ~2 400 kilometers per hour (at altitude) 1 500 miles per hour (at altitude)
Ceiling: 15 000+ meters 50 000+ feet
Range: 1 740 nautical miles » ~3 220 kilometers ~2 000 miles


The F-16C is the single seat version of the aricraft currenty used by the United States Air Force.
F-16C Copyright © Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika, U.S. Air Force


In active service


1 Pilot


The F-16D, a two-seat model, has tandem cockpits that are about the same size as the one in the C model. During training, the forward cockpit is used by a student pilot with an instructor pilot in the rear cockpit.
F-16D Copyright © Greg L. Davis, U.S. Air Force


In active service


1-2 Pilot(s)