1 person bested this!
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft developed by General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin for the United States Air Force. Designed as a lightweight fighter, it evolved into a successful multirole aircraft. The Falcon's versatility is a paramount reason it was a success on the export market, serving 24 countries. The F-16 is the largest Western fighter program with over 4,000 aircraft built since production started in 1976. Though no longer produced for the US Air Force, it is still produced for export.
The Fighting Falcon is a superb dogfighter with innovations including a frameless, bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while under high g-forces, and reclined seat to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot. It was also the first fighter aircraft to be deliberately built to sustain 9g turns. It is also one of the few jets with a thrust-to-weight ratio greater than one, giving the Falcon excellent acceleration.
Although the F-16's official name is "Fighting Falcon", it is known to its pilots as the "Viper", after the Battlestar Galactica starfighter.
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds use the F-16 for their air shows. The team switched from the "A" to "C" version in 1992. These are nearly identical to current combat aircraft; it takes just a few minor modifications for an F-16C to be made ready for the Thunderbirds. These changes include the replacement of the 20mm cannon and ammunition drum with a smoke-generating system, including its plumbing and control switches, the removal of the jet fuel starter exhaust door, and the application of the Thunderbirds' glossy red, white, and blue polyurethane paint scheme. All of the modification work is performed at the maintenance depot at Hill AFB near Ogden, Utah. If necessary, the planes could be made combat-ready in less than 72 hours.