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F-16 'Fighting Falcon'


The F-16 Fighting Falcon was inducted into the PAF in 1983. The initial order was for 40 Block 15 aircraft (28 F-16As and 12 F-16Bs). The F-16A is a single-seat air combat fighter while the F-16B is a dual-seat combat capable fighter trainer. The F-16 is a true multi-mission aircraft and can carry up to 15,200 lb. of bombs, missiles and rockets. It presently equips No. 9 and No. 11 (OCU) squadrons of the PAF.


One of the world's most successful and combat aircraft, the F-16 'Fighting Falcon', was designed in the early 1970s by General Dynamics but is now a product of Lockheed Martin Corp. since it purchased General Dynamics' fighter division. Designed to meet
the US Air Force's requirement for a lightweight fighter, the YF-16 prototype first flew on 2 February 1974 and emerged the victor from a competitive evaluation against the other contender, the Northrop YF-17, which later became the F-18 Hornet after winning an
order from the US Navy. The F-16 was conceived as an air combat fighter but has matured into a truly exceptional multi-role fighter. As an exanple, the F-16 flew primarily in the ground-attack role in the 1991 Gulf War. The F-16 also remains unbeaten in air-to-air combat with a global kill-to-loss ratio of 64:0. The kills being made by the air forces of Israel, Pakistan, the USA and Venezuela (internal).


The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multi-role, multi-mission air superiority fighter. It is a small, highly manoeuvrable aircraft which has proven itself in both air-to-air combat and ground-attack roles. Its primary edge lies in air defence but its versatility and agility
lends itself to the ground-attack role as well. It is a multi-dimensional fighter which provides the PAF with its most high-performance and advanced airborne weapons system.


In an air combat role, the F-16's manoeuvrability and combat radius (distance it can fly to enter air combat, stay, fight and return) exceed that of all potential threat fighter aircraft. It can locate targets in all weather conditions and detect low flying aircraft in
radar ground clutter. In an air-to-surface role, the F-16 can fly more than 500 miles (860 kilometres), deliver its weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its starting point. An all-weather capability allows it to accurately
deliver ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions.

In designing the F-16, advanced aerospace science and proven reliable systems from other aircraft such as the F-15 and F-111 were selected. These were combined to simplify the aircraft and reduce its size, purchase price, maintenance costs and weight.
The light weight of the fuselage is achieved without reducing its strength. The F-16 can withstand up to 9-g's - nine times the force of gravity - with internal fuel tanks filled - more g-force tolerance than any other current combat fighter.

The cockpit and its bubble canopy give the pilot unobstructed forward and upward vision and greatly improved vision over the side and to the rear. The seat-back angle was expanded from the usual 13 degrees to 30 degrees, increasing pilot comfort and gravity
force tolerance.

The pilot has excellent flight control of the F-16 through its "fly-by-wire" system. Electrical wires relay commands, replacing the usual cables and linkage controls. For easy and accurate control of the aircraft during high G-force combat manoeuvres, a side stick
controller is used instead of the conventional centre-mounted stick. Hand pressure on the side stick controller sends electrical signals to actuators of flight control surfaces such as ailerons and rudder.

Avionics systems include a highly accurate inertial navigation system in which a computer provides steering information to the pilot. The plane has UHF and VHF radios plus an instrument landing system. It also has a warning system and modular countermeasure pods to be used against airborne or surface electronic threats. The fuselage has space for additional avionics systems.

The key elements in the design are a very high thrust/weight ratio for good performance, especially in climbing and turning flight. The F-16 is amongst a few aircraft in the world which can go up in a 90-degree vertical climb like a rocket. Other features are a
'fly-by-wire' (as opposed to 'fly-by-cable') control system so that maximum agility can be extracted from a layout of relaxed static stability, a semi-reclining pilot's seat for added g-force tolerance, a clear-view bubble canopy offering 360 degrees field of vision for the pilot - perhaps the best in the world and advanced yet flexible avionics for long-rangetarget acquisition and accurate weapons delivery.

Standard Features:

Forebody Strakes
The strakes increase lift and directional control at higher angles of attack. 

9-g Structure
The structure allows sustained 9-g maneuvering even when carrying full internal fuel and air-to-air missiles.

Fixed Inlet
A uniquely shaped fixed inlet, with no moving parts, that provides smooth airflow to the engine at extreme angles of attack.

M61A1 Gun
The reliable U.S. standard 20mm gun fires 6000 rounds per minute and carries 510 rounds.

Maneuvering Leading-Edge Flaps
Automatic flap control provides optimum maneuvering in all conditions.

Air Refueling Receptacle
Air refueling capability with boom-type tanker.

Jet Fuel Starter
Self-start capability and assisted in-flight restart.

Single Vertical Tail
The F-16's tall vertical tail helps provide good directional stability at high angles of attack.

Blended Wing Body
The F-16's unique cross section is aerodynamically and volumetrically efficient.

8000-Hour Service Life
The airframe is designed for 8000 hours of operation (more than 26 years of service at 25 flight hours/month) without a depot-level inspection or overhaul.

Fly-By-Wire Flight Control System
Electronic flight controls, combined with an angle of attack/g limiter, allow edge-of-the-envelope precise maneuvering without worry of overstress or departure from controlled flight. The system also provides good ride quality in turbulent conditions. With relaxed static stability, this full-authority system gives the F-16 its famous maneuver responsiveness.

Stores Carriage Capability
The F-16 is capable of carrying up to 21,550 lb of weapons, ECM and sensor pods, and external fuel tanks on 11 store stations. With full internal fuel, the F-16 carries over 14,000 lb (F-16A) or over 15,500 lb (F-16C) of external stores at its maximum takeoff
gross weight.

Survivability Features
Small size, small signature, high sustained speeds, high agility, situation awareness features, countermeasures equipment, buried fuel lines, fuel inerting, critical systems redundancy and shielding, and rugged 9-g structure with alternate load paths make the
F-16 difficult to detect, difficult to hit, and difficult to stop. On all missions, the F-16 possesses a lethal self-defence against air threats with its radar, gun and all-aspect air-to-air missiles.


Operators of the F-16 include Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the USA and Venezuela. The UAE and Saudi Arabia will also
be taking delivery of the F-16.

Basic Specifications:

Primary Function: Multi-role fighter.

Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems (LMTAS) (USA)

Power Plant: F-16A/B - one Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-200 turbofan engine with afterburner; F-16C/D - one Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200/220 or General Electric F110-GE-100 turbofan engine with afterburner.

Thrust: F-16A/B, 24,000 pounds(10,800 kilograms); F-16C/D, 27,000 pounds(12,150 kilograms).

Length: 49 feet, 4 inches (15.3 meters).

Height: 16 feet 4 inch. (5.09 meters).

Wingspan: 31 feet (9.45 meters).

Speed: 1,500 mph (2,400 km/h, more than Mach 2 at sea level).

Ceiling: Above 50,000 feet (15 kilometres)

Maximum Takeoff Weight: 16,875 kilograms (37,500 lbs).

Range: More than 2,642 km ferry range (1,740 nautical miles)

Armament: One 20 mm M61A1 Vulcan multi-barrel cannon with 515 rounds; six hardpoints and two wing-tip rails can carry up to eight AIM-9 infrared missiles, one centreline hardpoint for fuel tank and two hardpoints under forward engine for LANTRIN pods. The F-16 can carry 5,443 kg (12,000 lb) of all makes of conventional air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions and electronic countermeasure pods.

Crew: F-16A: one; F-16B: two

PAF Inventory: 32 (current); 40 (original)

For more information about the PAF F-16s see Fighting the Falcon: The PAF F-16 Story

Note : Additional information available upon request.