- F-16 Fighting Falcon variants
A large number of F-16 Fighting Falcon variants have been produced by
General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and various licensed manufacturers. These versions, along with major modification programs and derivative designs significantly influenced by the F-16, are described below. The main F-16 production models and “blocks” are covered in the F-16 Fighting Falconarticle.
Special production variants
Korean Aerospace Industries(KAI) built 132 examples of the F-16C/D Block 52 under license from Lockheed Martin in the 1990s. The F/A-18 Hornethad originally won the Korea Fighter Program (KFP) competition, but disputes over costs and accusations of bribery led the Korean government to withdraw the award and select the F-16 instead. Designated the KF-16 (which is also sometimes mistakenly applied to the earlier batch of F-16 Block 32 bought by South Korea), the first 12 aircraft were delivered to Republic of Korea Air Force(ROKAF) in December 1994.Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_users_article18.html "F-16 in South Korea,"] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 20 May 2008.] Almost 2,500 parts are changed from the original F-16C/D. All KF-16 are capable of launching the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile.
The F-16I is a two-seat variant of the Block 50/52 Plus developed for the Israeli Defense Force – Air Force (IDF/AF). Israel issued a requirement in September 1997 and selected the F-16 in preference to the F-15 in July 1999. An initial "Peace Marble V" contract was signed on 14 January 2000 with a follow on contract signed on 19 December 2001 for a total procurement of 102 aircraft. The F-16I, which is called "Sufa" (Storm) by the IDF/AF, first flew on 23 December 2003, and deliveries to the IDF/AF began on 19 February 2004. [Anon. (June 2004). “Israeli F-16s: Latest Developments”. "Air Forces Monthly". pp. 36–39. Accessed 19 October 2006.]
The F-16I's most notable difference from the standard Block 50+ is that approximately 50% of the American
avionicshave been replaced by Israeli-developed avionics (such as the Israeli Aerial Towed Decoy replacing the ALE-50). The addition of Israeli-built autonomous aerial combat maneuvering instrumentation systems enables the training exercises to be conducted without dependence on ground instrumentation systems, and the helmet-mounted sight is also standard equipment. The helmet-mounted sight, head-up display(HUD), mission computer, presentation computer, and digital map display are made by Elbit Systemsof Israel. Furthermore, the F-16I is able to employ Rafael's new Python 5 imaging infrared-guided high-agility air-to-air missile. The F-16I also has the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI)-built removable conformal fuel tanks (CFT) added to extend its range; removal takes two hours. Key American-sourced systems include the F100-PW-229 turbofanengine, which offers commonality with the IDF/AF's F-15Is, and the APG-68(V)9 radar.Anon. (updated 21 January 2008). “Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon”. "Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft". Retrieved 30 May 2008.]
Close air support variants
F-16 variants modified to serve as dedicated
close air support(CAS) aircraft. The A-16 was a late-1980s GD project to develop a CAS version of the basic F-16 by adding armor and strengthening the wings for a heavier weapons load, including a 30 mm cannon and 7.62 mm Minigunpods. Two F-16A Block 15 aircraft were modified to this configuration. Envisioned as a successor to the A-10, the type was to have received the ‘Block 60’ designation; however, the A-16 never went into production due a 26 November 1990 Congressional directive to the U.S. Air Force (USAF) mandating that it retain two wings of A-10s.Anon. (undated). [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article18.html “A-16, F/A-16, F-16A (30mm gun)”] . "F-16.net". Retrieved 21 May 2008.]
A second outcome of that directive was a decision by the Air Force that, instead of upgrading the A-10, it would seek to retrofit 400 Block 30/32 F-16s as with new equipment to perform both CAS and battlefield air interdiction (BAI) missions. The new systems for this “F/A-16” Block 30 included a digital terrain-mapping system [Burnett, Paul C. et al. [http://stinet.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA177737 F-16 Digital Terrain System: Concept of Operations and Support] (Accession Number: ADA177737). Defense Technical Information Center, March 1986. Retrieved: 21 May 2008.] and
Global Positioning System(GPS) integration for improved navigational and weapons delivery accuracy, as well as an Automatic Target Handoff System (ATHS) to allow direct digital target/mission data exchange between the pilot and ground units. This approach, however, was dropped in January 1992 in favor of equipping Block 40/42 F-16C/Ds with LANTIRNpods.
Other CAS initiatives
In 1991, 24 F-16A/B Block 10 aircraft belonging to the 174th TFW, a
New York Air National Guardunit that had transitioned from the A-10 in 1988, were armed with the 30 mm GAU-13/A four-barrel derivative of the seven-barrel GAU-8/A cannon used by the A-10A. This weapon was carried in a General ElectricGPU-5/A Pave Claw gun podon the centerline station, and was supplied with 353 rounds of ammunition. There were also plans to convert F-16C’s to this configuration and to incorporate the A-10’s AN/AAS-35V Pave Penny laser spot tracker. The vibration from the gun when firing proved so severe as to make both aiming and flying the aircraft difficult, and trials were suspended after two days. Although the 174th’s aircraft were employed for CAS during Operation Desert Storm, they did not use the gun pods in action, and the Block 10 F/A-16 were phased out after the war. [Goebel, Greg. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article18.html "F-16 Variants"] . "Vectorsite.net", 1 April 2007. Retrieved: 21 May 2008.]
About two dozen F-16As of the
Royal Netherlands Air Force(RNLAF) were supplied with indigenous Oude Delft Orpheus low-altitude tactical reconnaissancepods transferred from its retiring RF-104G. Designated F-16A(R), the first example flew on 27 January 1983, and they entered service with the RNLAF’s 306 Squadron in October 1984. Beginning in 1995, the Belgian Air Forcereplaced its own Mirage 5BR reconnaissance aircraft with at least a dozen F-16A(R) equipped with loaned Orpheus pods and Vinten cameras from the Mirages; these were replaced with more capable Per Udsen modular recce pods from 1996–1998. The F-16A(R) remained primarily combat aircraft with a secondary reconnaissance role.Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article24.html "RF-16/F-16(R) : Recce Versions."] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 30 May 2008.] [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article3.html "F-16A/B Block 1/5/10/15/15OCU/20"] . "F-16.net". Retrieved: 30 May 2008.] [Peacock. "On Falcon Wings: The F-16 Story". 1997. p. 38.]
The first reconnaissance variant was a USAF F-16D experimentally configured in 1986 with a centerline multi-sensor bathtub-style pod; it was referred to as “F-16 Recce” (and not “RF-16D” as it has sometimes been misreported). The USAF decided in 1988 to replace the aging RF-4C Phantom fleet with RF-16C Block 30s fitted with the Control Data Corporation’s
Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System(ATARS) centerline pod, which could carry a variety of sensors. Problems with the ATARS program, however, led to the USAF’s departure in June 1993. During the mid-1990s, the U.S. Air Force experimented with a series of centerline recce pod designs, beginning with a prototype pod, the Electro-Optical 1 (EO-1) pod. This was followed by four “Richmond recce pods”, which saw service in the Balkans. The USAF finally settled on what would become the definitive AN/ASD-11 Theater Airborne Reconnaissance System(TARS). The first F-16 flight with a prototype TARS flew on 26 August 1995, and on 27 September 1996 the USAF placed its first production order for the pods. Block 30s and Block 25s of five Air National Guard(ANG) squadrons have received the system since mid-1998. The USAF, however, does not designate them “RF-16s”.Peacock 1997, p. 48–49.] Goebel, Greg. [http://www.vectorsite.net/avf16_2.html "F-16 Variants"] . "Vectorsite", 1 April 2007. Retrieved: 26 May 2008.]
The designation RF-16A is used, though, by the
Royal Danish Air Force. In early 1994, 10 Danish F-16A were redesignated as RF-16A tactical recce aircraft, replacing the RF-35 "Drakens" withdrawn at the end of 1993. As a temporary measure they were originally fitted with the "Drakens’" optical cameras and electro-optical (E-O) sensors repackaged in a Per Udsen ‘Red Baron’ recce pod, which were replaced a few years later by Per Udsen’s Modular Reconnaissance Pod (MRP).
Technology demonstrators and proposed variants
LTV Aerospace Model 1600/1601/1602
Following the YF-16’s victory over the
Northrop YF-17for the U.S. Air Force’s ACF competition, General Dynamics decided a “navalized” variant could also best it in the Navy’s revived Naval Fighter Attack Experimental (VFAX) program. Having no carrier aircraft experience, GD teamed up with LTV Aerospace, which had designed the successful carrier-capable F-8 Crusaderand A-7 Corsair IIfor the Navy; if successful, LTV would have produced the carrier version of the F-16.Peacock 1997, p. 54.]
LTV created three concepts for the navalized F-16. The main proposal was the Model 1600, which was based on the Block 10 F-16. It featured structural strengthening, an arrestor hook, and a more robust
undercarriageto accommodate the rigors of carrier launch and recovery operations. The Model 1600 employed the General Electric F404(which would be selected for the F/A-18), but two other powerplant choices were also explored. The Model 1601 had an improved Pratt & Whitney F100, while the Model 1602 used the General Electric F101. However, the Navy preferred a twin-engine aircraft, and on 2 May 1975 it selected the Northrop- McDonnell DouglasYF-17-based F/A-18 Hornet proposal.
The initial YF-16 prototype was reconfigured in December 1975 to serve as the USAF Flight Dynamics Laboratory's Control-Configured Vehicle (CCV) testbed. The CCV concept entails “decoupling” the aircraft’s
flight control surfacesso that they can operate independently. This approach enables unusual maneuvers such as being able to turn the airplane without banking it. The ability to maneuver in one plane without simultaneously moving in another was seen as offering novel tactical performance capabilities for a fighter. The CCV YF-16 design featured twin pivoting ventral fins mounted vertically underneath the air intake, and its triply redundant fly-by-wire (FBW) flight control system(FCS) was modified to permit use of flaperons on the wings’ trailing edges which would act in combination with an all-moving stabilator. The fuel system was redesigned to enable adjustment of the aircraft’s center of gravityby transferring fuel from one tank to another. The CCV aircraft achieved its first flight on 16 March 1976. The flight test program ran until 30 June 1977, and was marred only by a hard landing on 24 June 1976 that delayed testing until repairs were effected. The CCV program was judged successful and led to a more ambitious follow-on effort in the form of the "Advanced Fighter Technology Integration" (AFTI) F-16. [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article15.html "F-16/CCV : Control Configured Vehicle."] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 25 May 2008.] [Baugher, Joseph F. [http://home.att.net/~jbaugher4/f16_31.html General Dynamics YF-16/CCV] . "American Military Aircraft", updated 31 March 2000. Retrieved: 26 May 2008.]
General Dynamics was one of several U.S. aircraft makers awarded a contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 1976 to develop proposals for an experimental
forward-swept wingtest aircraft. GD’s entry, the Swept Forward Wing (SFW) F-16, had a slightly lengthened fuselage to accommodate the larger, advanced composites wing. In January 1981, DARPA selected Grumman’s entry, which became known as the X-29A. Although the SFW F-16 was not chosen, the X-29 incorporated some of the F-16’s features, particularly its FBW flight control system and its undercarriage. [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article26.html “F-16 SFW : Swept Forward Wing.”] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 30 May 2008.]
In response to President
Jimmy Carter's February 1977 directive to curtail arms proliferation by selling only reduced-capability weapons to foreign countries, General Dynamics developed a modified export-oriented version of the F-16A/B designed for use with the outdated General Electric J79 turbojetengine. Northropcompeted for this market with its F-20 Tigershark. Accommodating the J79-GE-119 engine required modification of the F-16’s inlet, the addition of steel heat shielding, a transfer gearbox (to connect the engine to the existing F-16 gearbox), and an 18-inch (46 cm) stretch of the aft fuselage. First flight occurred on 29 October 1980. The total program cost to develop the F-16/J79 was $18 million (1980), and the unit flyaway cost was projected to be about $8 million. South Korea, Pakistan and other nations were offered these fighters but rejected them, resulting in numerous exceptions being made to sell standard F-16s; with the later relaxation of the policy under President Carter in 1980 and its cancellation under President Ronald Reagan, no copies of either the F-16/79 or the F-20 were ultimately sold. [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article12.html "F-16/79 : FX Export Fighter."] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 21 May 2008.]
In February 1979, General Electric was awarded a $79.9 million (1979) contract under the joint USAF/Navy Derivative Fighter Engine (DFE) program to develop a variant of its F101 turbofan engine, originally designed for the B-1A bomber, for use on the F-16 (in lieu of the standard P&W F100) and the F-14A (in place of the P&W
TF30). The first Full-Scale Development (FSD) F-16A (#75-0745) was fitted with the F101X DFE engine and made its maiden flight on 19 December 1980. Although the F101 performed better than the F100, it was not adopted for use; however, data from testing the F-16/101 assisted in the development of the F110 turbofan, for which the F101 would serve as the core, and the F110 would become an alternate engine for both the F-16 and F-14. [Dabney, Thomas R. and Michael J. Hirschberg. “Engine wars – Competition for U.S. fighter engine production”, paper presented at the 34th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, Cleveland, Ohio, July 13-15, 1998.] [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article11.html "F-16/101 : Derivative Fighter Engine."] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 24 May 2008.]
The F-16XL featured a novel ‘cranked-arrow’ type of
delta wingwith more than twice the area of the standard F-16 wing. Developed under a program originally known as the Supersonic Cruise and Maneuvering Program (SCAMP), the design was intended to offer low drag at high subsonic or supersonic speeds without compromising low-speed maneuverability. As a result, the F-16XL can cruise efficiently at supersonic speeds without use of an afterburner. [Chambers, Joseph R. "Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon: The F-16XL" in [http://oea.larc.nasa.gov/PAIS/Partners/F_16.html "Partners in Freedom: Contributions of the Langley Research Center to U.S. Military Aircraft of the 1990’s"] ; Monographs in Aerospace History Number 19, The NASA History Series (NASA SP-2000-4519). Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2000.] In late 1980, the USAF agreed to provide GD with the third and fifth FSD F-16s for modification into single-seat and twin-seat F-16XL prototypes. To accommodate the larger wing, the aircraft was lengthened 56 in (142 cm) by the addition of a 30-inch (76 cm) plug in the forward fuselage and a 26-inch (66 cm) section to the aft fuselage just behind the landing gear bulkhead. The rear fuselage was also canted up by three degrees to increase the angle of attack on takeoff and landing. The F-16XL could carry twice the payload of the F-16 on 27 hardpoints, and it had a 40% greater range due to an 82% increase in internal fuel carriage. The single-seat F-16XL first flew on 3 July 1982, followed by the two-seater on 29 October 1982. The F-16XL competed unsuccessfully with the F-15E Strike Eaglein the Enhanced Tactical Fighter (ETF) program; if it had won the competition, the production versions were to have been designated F-16E/F. [Darling 2003, p. 63.] Following the February 1984 selection announcement, both examples of the F-16XL were placed in flyable storage.Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article1.html "F-16 XL : Cranked-Arrow Wing."] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 25 May 2008.]
In late 1988, the two prototypes were taken out of storage and turned over to the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA) for use in a program designed to evaluate aerodynamic concepts for improving laminar airflow over the wing during sustained supersonic flight. From 1989–1999, both aircraft were used by NASA for several experimental research programs, and in 2007, NASA was considering returning the single-seat F-16XL to operational status for further aeronautical research. [Somerville, Jon. [http://www.f-16.net/news_article2415.html "NASA could put F-16XL back into the air."] "F-16.net", 9 July 2007. Retrieved: 25 May 2008.]
In March 1980, General Dynamics began converting the sixth FSD F-16A to serve as the technology demonstrator aircraft for the joint Flight Dynamics Laboratory-NASA Advanced Fighter Technology Integration (AFTI) program. The AFTI F-16 built upon GD’s experience with its YF-16 CCV program, and the AFTI F-16 even received the twin pivoting vertical ventral fins from the CCV aircraft, which were likewise installed under the air intake. The aircraft was also fitted with a narrow dorsal fairing along its spine to house additional electronics. Technologies introduced and tested on the AFTI F-16 include a full-authority triplex Digital Flight Control System (DFCS), a six-degree-of-freedom Automated Maneuvering Attack System (AMAS), a 256-word-capacity Voice-Controlled Interactive Device (VCID) to control the avionics suite, and a helmet-mounted target designation sight that permitted the
forward-looking infrared(FLIR) device and the radar to be automatically “slaved” to the pilot’s head movement. First flight of the AFTI F-16 occurred on 10 July 1982. The Air Force Associationgave its 1987 Theodore von Karman Award for the most outstanding achievement in science and engineering to the F-16/AFTI team. [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article13.html "F-16 AFTI : Advanced Fighter Technology Integration."] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 25 May 2008.] [Goebel, Greg. [http://www.vectorsite.net/avf16_2.html "F-16 Variants."] "Vectorsite", 1 April 2007. Retrieved: 26 May 2008.]
The AFTI F-16 participated in numerous research and development programs: [Dewitte, Lieven. [http://www.f-16.net/news_article778.html "AFTI/F-16 History."] "F-16.net", 10 January 2001. Retrieved: 26 May 2008.] :* AFTI Phase I testing (1981–1983): a two-year effort focused on proving the DFCS system.:* AFTI Phase II testing (1983–1987): evaluation of the wing-root-mounted FLIR and the AMAS system. :* CAS/BAI (1988–1992): a five-phase evaluation program testing a variety of low-level close air support/battlefield air interdiction (CAS/BAI) techniques, including an Automatic Target Handoff System (ATHS) (which transferred target data from ground stations or other aircraft to the AFTI/F-16) and off-axis weapons launch. :* Talon Sword Bravo (1993–1994): demonstration of cooperative engagement techniques where the aircraft fires at a target based on targeting information
datalinked from a distant sensor; the weapon principally investigated was the AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM).:* EGI (1994 & 1997): testing of embedded GPS/INS (EGI) navigation systems, including evaluation of the reliability of GPS in jamming environments. :* AGCAS (1994–1996): testing of an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (AGCAS or Auto-GCAS) to help reduce the incidence of “controlled flight into terrain" (CFIT); lessons learned from this program were further evolved on the F-16 GCAS.:* J/IST (1997–2000): testing of the world’s first all-electric flight control system under the Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Subsystem Technologies (J/IST) program.
F-16 Agile Falcon
F-16 Agile Falconwas a variant proposed by GD in 1984 that featured a 25% larger wing, uprated engines, and some already planned MSIP IV improvements for the basic F-16. Unsuccessfully offered as a low-cost alternative for the Advanced Tactical Fighter(ATF) competition, some of its capabilities were incorporated into the Block 40 F-16C/D, and the Agile Falcon would serve as the basis for developing Japan’s F-2 fighter.
F-16AT Falcon 21
In 1990 General Dynamics proposed the F-16AT 'Falcon 21' as a low-cost alternative for the
Advanced Tactical Fighter(ATF) program that would eventually lead to the F-22 Raptor. It was a single-engined fighter based on the F-16XL, but with a trapezoidal wing.Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article21.html "F-16 – Various : Agile Falcon/production extension."] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 30 May 2008.]
NF-16D / VISTA / MATV
In the late 1980s, General Dynamics and General Electric began exploring the application of thrust vector control (TVC) technology to the F-16 under the F-16 Multi-Axis Thrust-Vectoring (MATV) program. Originally the Israel Defense Force/Air Force was going to supply an F-16D for this effort; however, the USAF, which had initially declined to support the program, changed its mind and took over the MATV project in 1991 and Israel withdrew from it the following year.Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article19.html "F-16 VISTA / MATV / NF-16D : Variable-stability In-flight Simulator Test Aircraft, Multi Axis Thrust Vectoring."] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 30 May 2008.]
Meanwhile, General Dynamics had received a contract in 1988 to develop the Variable-stability In-flight Simulator Test Aircraft (VISTA). The
F-16 VISTAeffort was funded by the USAF, the U.S. Navy, and NASA. Calspan, a subcontractor to GD, fitted a Block 30 F-16D belonging to Wright Labs with a center stick (in addition to the sidestick controller), a new computer, and a digital flight control system that allowed it to imitate, to a degree, the performance of other aircraft. Redesignated NF-16D, its first flight in the VISTA configuration occurred on 9 April 1992.
In 1993, the variable-stability computers and center stick were temporarily removed from the VISTA for flight tests for the MATV program, under which the first use of thrust-vectoring in flight was accomplished on 30 July. Thrust-vectoring was enabled through the use of the Axisymmetric Vectoring Exhaust Nozzle (AVEN). Following the conclusion of MATV testing in March 1994, the VISTA variable-stability computers were reinstalled. In 1996 a program was begun to fit the NF-16D with a multi-directional thrust-vectoring nozzle, but the program was canceled due to lack of funding later that year. Although the F-16 VISTA program was considered successful, thrust vectoring was not taken up for the F-16 by the U.S. Air Force. [Peacock 1997, p. 47–48.]
In F-16U was one of several configurations proposed for the United Arab Emirates in the early 1990s. The F-16U was a two-seat aircraft that combined many features of the F-16XL and the delta wing of the F-16X. [Peacock 1997, p. 51.]
F-16X Falcon 2000
In 1993 Lockheed Martin proposed development of a new version of the venerable F-16. This F-16X ‘Falcon 2000’ featured a delta-wing planform like that of the F-22; together with the fuselage stretch to accommodate the new wing design, the F-16X would have 80% more internal fuel volume. The design also permitted conformal carriage of the
AIM-120 AMRAAM. LM claimed the F-16X could be built for two-thirds the cost of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. [Peacock 1997, p. 51–52.]
The F-16 Enhanced Strategic (ES) was an extended-range variant of the F-16C/D fitted with conformal fuel tanks that granted it a 40% greater range over the standard Block 50. The F-16ES also featured an internal FLIR system, which offered the capabilities of the LANTIRN navigation and targeting system without the drag associated with external pods. Unsuccessfully offered to Israel as an alternative to the F-15I Strike Eagle in late 1993, it was one of several configuration options offered to the United Arab Emirates that would ultimately lead to the development of the F-16E/F Block 60 for that nation. An F-16C Block 30 was modified to the ES configuration to test the conformal tanks and simulated FLIR sensor turrets fitted above and below the nose of the aircraft. The F-16ES first flew on 5 November 1994 and flight testing was completed in January 1995. [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article17.html "F-16 ES : Enhanced Strategic."] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 30 May 2008.] [Peacock 1997, p. 50.]
The F-16 Low-Observable Asymmetric Nozzle (LOAN) demonstrator was an F-16C fitted in late 1996 with a prototype nozzle with significantly reduced radar and infrared signatures and lowered maintenance requirements. It was tested in November 1996 to evaluate the technology for the
Joint Strike Fighter(JSF) program. [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article20.html "F-16 LOAN : Low Observable Asymmetric Nozzle"] . "F-16.net". Retrieved: 30 May 2008.] [Anon. [http://www.defensedaily.com/articles/dd/1996/dd11208.html “Lockheed Martin Completes Testing of New Engine Nozzle”] . "Defense Daily", 20 November 1996. Retrieved: 30 May 2008.]
Due to the unavailability of the AFTI F-16 following the AGCAS effort, a Block 25 F-16D was modified for continued investigation of ground collision-avoidance system (GCAS) technologies to reduce CFIT incidents; this joint effort by the USAF, Lockheed Martin, NASA and the
Swedish Air Forcewas conducted during 1997–1998. [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article8.html "F-16 GCAS : Ground Collision Avoidance System."] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 26 May 2008.]
Lockheed Martin has proposed an advanced variant, the F-16IN, as its candidate for India’s 126-aircraft Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition. According to Chuck Artymovich, the company's business development director for the program, "The F-16IN is the most advanced F-16 ever." Notable F-16IN features include an
AN/APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array(AESA) radar, advanced electronic warfaresuites, and an infrared search and track(IRST) system. If selected as the winner of the competition, Lockheed Martin will supply the first 18 aircraft, and will set up an assembly line in India in collaboration with Indian partners for production of the remainder. The program is reportedly worth up to Rs. 55,000 crore(US$14 billion). [Pandey, Vinay. [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/F-16_maker_Lockheed_mounts_an_India_campaign/articleshow/2706209.cms "F-16 maker Lockheed mounts an India campaign."] "Times of India", 17 January 2008. Retrieved: 24 May 2008.] [Anon. [http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/mirage-2000s-withdrawn-as-indias-mrca-fighter-competition-changes-01989/ "F-16 maker Lockheed mounts an India campaign."] "Defense Industry Daily", 11 May 2008. Retrieved: 24 May 2008.]
Other special-purpose variants
MANAT, the Israeli Air Force’s flight test center, is known to operate a specially built Block 40 F-16D delivered in 1987 as a testbed aircraft designated ‘CK-1’. It is used by the IAF for testing new flight configurations, weapon systems and avionics.
Small numbers of each type of F-16A/B/C are used for non-flying ground instruction of maintenance personnel.
The USAF is considering converting older-model F-16s into full-scale target drones under the QF-16 Air Superiority Target (AST) program. These AST drones are used in Weapon System Evaluation Programs (WSEP) for assessing upgrades or replacements for air-to-air missiles (AAM), and they are also useful for giving pilots the experience of a live AAM shot and kill prior to entering combat. QF-16s would replace the current QF-4 drones, the last of which are expected to be expended around 2010. The Air Force’s Air Armament Center hosted its first “Industry Day” for interested vendors at Eglin AFB, Florida on 16-19 July 2007. [Anon. [http://www.defensedaily.com/articles/dd/2007/dd07090701.html “Defense Watch : Drone Fest.”] "Defense Daily", 9 July 2007. Retrieved: 7 June 2008.]
Major modification variants
The U.S. Navy acquired 22 modified Block 30 F-16s for use as adversary assets for
dissimilar air combat training(DACT); four of these were TF-16N two-seaters. These aircraft were delivered in 1987-1988. Fighter Squadron 126 ( VF-126) and the Navy Fighter Weapons School(NFWS) (or TOPGUN) operated them at NAS Miramar, California on the West Coast; East Coast adversary training squadrons were Fighter Squadron 43 ( VF-43) at NAS Oceana, Virginia and Fighter Squadron 45 ( VF-45) at NAS Key West, Florida. Each squadron had five F-16N and one TF-16N, with the exception of TOPGUN which had six and one, respectively. Due to the high stress of constant combat training, the wings of these aircraft began to crack and the Navy announced their retirement in 1994. By 1995, all but one of these aircraft had been sent to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group(AMARG) for preservation and storage; one F-16N was sent to the National Museum of Naval Aviationat NAS Pensacola, Florida as a museum article. As adversary aircraft, the Navy’s F-16Ns were notable for their colorful appearance. Most Navy F-16N aircraft were painted in a three-tone blue and gray "ghost" scheme. TOPGUN had some of the more colorful ones: a three-color desert scheme, a light blue one and a green splinter camouflageversion with Marine Corps markings. VF-126 also had a unique blue example.
In 2002, the Navy began to receive 14 F-16A and B models from the
Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center(AMARC) that were originally intended for Pakistan before being embargoed. These aircraft (which are not designated F-16N/TF-16N) are operated by the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center(NSAWC) / (TOPGUN) for adversary training and like their F-16N predecessors are painted in exotic schemes.
These designations have been applied to F-16A/Bs that have received the
F-16 Mid-Life Update(MLU), which improves the reliability, supportability and maintainability of the aircraft and upgrades the cockpit to a standard similar to that of the Block 50. Conversion work began in January 1997. F-16AM/BMs were first introduced by the air forces of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, which were the original members of the European Participation Group (EPG); their use has since been extended to Chile, Jordan, Pakistan and Portugal by way of transfers of surplus examples of these aircraft. [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article2.html "F-16 MLU : Mid-Life Update."] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 24 May 2008.]
Major upgrade programs
In 1980, General Dynamics, the USAF’s F-16 System Program Office (SPO), and the EPG partners initiated a long-term Multinational Staged Improvement Program (MSIP) to evolve new capabilities for the F-16, mitigate risks during technology development, and ensure its currency against a changing threat environment. The F-16 Falcon Century program, a survey and evaluation of new technologies and new capabilities that began in 1982, was also relied upon to identify new concepts for integration onto the F-16 through the MSIP derivative development effort. Altogether, the MSIP process permitted quicker introduction of new capabilities, at lower costs, and with reduced risks compared to traditional stand-alone system enhancement and modernization programs. [Camm, Frank. [http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA281706&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf The F-16 Multinational Staged Improvement Program: A Case Study of Risk Assessment and Risk Management] (Accession No. ADA281706). RAND Corp., 1993. Retrieved: 2 June 2008.]
The first stage, MSIP I, began in February 1980 and it introduced the new technologies that defined the Block 15 aircraft. Fundamentally, MSIP I improvements were focused on reducing the cost of retrofitting future systems. These included structural and wiring provisions for a wide-field-of-view raster HUD;
multi-function displays (MFD); advanced fire control computer and central weapons interface unit; integrated Communications/Navigation/Identification (CNI) system; beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missiles, electro-optical and target acquisition pods, and internal electronic countermeasures (ECM) systems; and increased-capacity environmental control and electrical power systems. Delivery of the first USAF MSIP I Block 15 aircraft occurred in November 1981, and work on the first EPG MSIP I aircraft began in May 1982. [Camm 1993, pp. 33-35]
MSIP II, begun in May 1981, led to the F-16C/D Block 25/30/32. For the Block 25, it basically added the systems which the MSIP I provisions had enabled. The first MSIP II F-16C Block 25 was delivered in July 1984. The Block 30/32 take advantage of the Alternative Fighter Engine program that offered a choice between two engines for the F-16: the General Electric F110-GE-100 (Block 30) as well as the newly upgraded Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 (Block 32). To take full advantage of the higher-thrust GE engine, a larger, modular air inlet duct was fitted on the Block 30s. MSIP II capabilities introduced on the Block 30/32 also included the ability to target multiple aircraft with the AMRAAM; range, resolution and signal processor improvements to the AN/APG-68 radar; a ring laser gyroscope; ALQ-213 electronic warfare system; added cooling air capacity for the more powerful avionics suite; and employment of the
AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles. The first Block 30 was delivered in July 1986. [Camm 1993, pp. 35-37]
MSIP III produced the Block 40/42/50/52. Initiated in June 1985, the first MSIP III Block 40 was delivered in December 1988, and the first Block 50 followed in October 1991. Introduced in the MSIP III Block 40/42 were LANTIRN navigation and targeting pods, along with the related diffractive optics HUD; the increased-reliability APG-68V fire-control radar; an aft-seat HUD monitor in the F-16D; a four-channel digital flight-control system; GPS; advanced EW and
Identification Friend or Foe(IFF) equipment; and further structural strengthening to counter the aircraft’s growing weight. The Block 50/52 received uprated F100-GE-129 and F110-PW-229 engines; an upgraded programmable display generator with digital terrain mapping; an improved APG-68V5 fire-control radar; an automatic target hand-off system; an anti-jam radio; the ALE-47 chaff dispenser; and integration of AGM-88 HARManti-radiation missiles. [Camm 1993, pp. 37–39.]
Although only three stages had been originally planned, GD proposed an MSIP IV segment (marketed as ‘Agile Falcon’), but this was rejected by the Air Force in 1989. However, most of its elements – such as extensive avionics upgrades, color displays, an electronic warfare management system (EWMS), reconnaissance pods, AIM-9X Sidewinder infrared air-to-air missile integration, and helmet-mounted sights – have been introduced since that time. [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/varia_article3.html “The legacy of the F-16 "Fighting Falcon" for the emerging C&EE nations.”] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 6 June 2008.] [Camm 1993, p. 27]
Pacer Loft I & II
F-16A/B Blocks 1 and 5 were upgraded to the Block 10 standard under a two-phase program: Pacer Loft I (1982–1983) and Pacer Loft II (1983–1984).Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article3.html “F-16A/B : Block 1/5/10/15/15OCU/20.”] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 7 June 2008.]
F-16A/B Block 15 OCU
Beginning in January 1988, all Block 15 F-16A/B were delivered with an Operational Capability Upgrade (OCU). The Block 15 OCU aircraft incorporate the wide-angle HUD that was first introduced on the F-16C/D Block 25, more reliable F100-PW-220 turbofans, updated defensive systems, and the ability to fire the AIM-120 AMRAAM, the
AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missile, and the AGM-119 Penguin Mk.3 anti-shipping missiledeveloped by the Norwegian company Kongsberg. Many foreign customers upgraded their aircraft to the F-16A/B Block 15OCU standard.
In 1989 a two-year study began regarding possible mid-life upgrades for the USAF’s and European Partner Air Forces’ (EPAF’s) F-16A/Bs. The resulting F-16 Mid-Life Update (MLU) package was designed to upgrade the cockpit and avionics to the equivalent of that on the F-16C/D Block 50; add the ability to employ radar-guided air-to-air missiles; and to generally enhance the operational performance and improve the reliability, supportability and maintainability of the aircraft. Development began in May 1991 and continued until 1997; however, the USAF withdrew from the MLU program in 1992, although it did procure the modular mission computer for its Block 50/52 aircraft. [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article2.html “F-16 MLU : Mid-Life Update.”] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 30 May 2008.] Anon. “Lockheed Martin (General Dynamics) F-16 Fighting Falcon – EPAF Mid-Life Update (MLU).” "Jane’s Aircraft Upgrades", updated 28 April 2008. Retrieved: 30 May 2008.]
The first of five prototype conversions flew on 28 April 1995, and installation of production kits began in January 1997. The original plans called for the production of 553 kits (110 for Belgium, 63 for Denmark, 172 for the Netherlands, 57 for Norway, and 130 for the USAF), however, final orders amounted to only 325 kits (72 for Belgium, 61 for Denmark, 136 for the Netherlands, and 56 for Norway). The EPAFs redesignated the F-16A/B aircraft receiving the MLU as F-16AM/BM, respectively. Portugal later joined the program and the first of 20 aircraft was redelivered on 26 June 2003. In recent years, Chile, Jordan, and Pakistan have purchased surplus Dutch and Belgian F-16AM/BM for their air forces.
Development of new software and hardware modifications continues under the MLU program. The M3 software tape was installed in parallel with the Falcon STAR structural upgrade to bring the F-16AM/BM up to the standards of the USAF’s Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP). A total of 296 M3 kits (72 for Belgium, 59 for Denmark, 57 for Norway, and 108 for the Netherlands) were ordered for delivery from 2002–2007; installation is anticipated to be completed in 2010. An M4 tape has also been developed that adds the ability to use additional weapons and the Pantera targeting pod; Norway began conducting flying combat operations in Afghanistan with these upgraded aircraft in 2008. An M5 tape is in development that will enable employment of a wider array of the latest smart weapons, and the first aircraft upgraded with it are due to be delivered in 2009.
Although the F-16 was originally designed with an expected service life of 8000 flying hours, actual operational usage has proven to be more severe than expected and this has been exacerbated by its growing weight as more systems and structure have been added to the aircraft. As a result, the anticipated average service life of the F-16A/B had fallen to only 5500 flying hours. Beginning in the early 1990s, the Falcon UP program restored the 8000-hour capability for the USAF’s Block 40/42 aircraft. Pleased with the results, the USAF extended the Falcon UP effort to provide a Service Life Improvement Program (SLIP) for its Block 25 and 30/32 aircraft to ensure 6000 flying hours, and a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) for its F-16A/B aircraft to assure their achieving 8000 hours.Anon. “Lockheed Martin (General Dynamics) F-16 Fighting Falcon – Lockheed Martin Falcon UP/Falcon Star.” "Jane’s Aircraft Upgrades", updated 21 November 2007. Retrieved: 30 May 2008.] Anon. [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/f-16-life.htm “F-16 Fighting Falcon – Service Life.”] "Global Security". Retrieved: 30 May 2008.]
Falcon STAR (STructural Augmentation Roadmap) is a program to repair and replace critical airframe components on all F-16A/B/C/D aircraft; like Falcon UP, it is intended to ensure an 8000-hour service life, but it is based on more recent operational usage statistics. The first redelivery occurred in February 2004, and in 2007 the USAF announced that it would upgrade 651 Block 40/42/50/52 F-16s; this is expected to extend the Falcon STAR program, which began in 1999, through 2014.
Israel Aircraft Industries developed an open-architecture avionics suite upgrade for its F-16s known as the Avionics Capabilities Enhancement (ACE). It introduced the first “full-glass cockpit” on an operational F-16, and featured an advanced
fire-control radar, an Up Front Control Panel (UFCP), and an option for a wide-angle HUD or a helmet-mounted display. First flight of an F-16B equipped with ACE was accomplished in May 2001. The ACE upgrade was not taken up by the Israeli Air Force, which ordered a second batch of the F-16I instead; IAI offered ACE to Venezuela, but the U.S. government blocked it and stated that it would only permit elements of ACE, not the whole suite, to be exported. [Anon. [http://defence-data.com/paris2001/pagepa1084.htm “IAI's upgraded F-16 on display in Paris.”] "Defence Systems Daily", 21 June 2001. Retrieved: 30 May 2008.] [Anon. “Lockheed Martin (General Dynamics) F-16 Fighting Falcon – IAI/ELBIT Avionics Capabilities Enhancement (ACE) Upgrade.” "Jane’s Aircraft Upgrades", updated 11 January 2008. Retrieved: 30 May 2008.]
F-16 Falcon ONE
Singapore Technologies Aerospace (ST Aero) has also developed a state-of-the-art, “glass cockpit” avionics suite as an alternative to the MLU offering. The Falcon ONE suite includes a wide-angle HUD that can display FLIR imagery, the Striker Helmet-Mounted Display (HMD), a datalink capability, and the FIAR "Grifo" radar. First revealed at the
Farnborough Air Showon 25 July 2000, it has yet to find a customer. [Low, Celina. [http://www.stengg.com/pressroom/press_releases_read.aspx?paid=358 “ST Aero Signs Up BAE Systems As Strategic Partner In F-16 Upgrade Suite.”] ST Engineering press release, 25 July 2000. Retrieved: 30 May 2008.] [Anon. “Lockheed Martin (General Dynamics) F-16 Fighting Falcon – StAero Falcon One Upgrade.” "Jane’s Aircraft Upgrades", updated 15 January 2008. Retrieved: 30 May 2008.]
The Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP) is a $2 billion modernization effort that seeks to standardize all USAF Block 40/42/50/52 F-16s to a common Block 50/52-based avionics software and hardware configuration for simplified training and maintenance. Lockheed Martin received a contract to develop the first phase CCIP configuration upgrade packages in June 1998; kit production work started in 2000, and deliveries began in July 2001. Anon. “Lockheed Martin (General Dynamics) F-16 Fighting Falcon – Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP).” "Jane’s Aircraft Upgrades", updated 21 January 2008. Retrieved: 31 May 2008.] [Dewitte, Lieven. [http://www.f-16.net/news_article453.html “Lockheed Martin to develop major F-16C/D upgrade.”] "F-16.net", 30 June 1998. Retrieved: 31 May 2008.]
Phase 1 of the CCIP added new Modular Mission Computers, color cockpit display kits and advanced IFF systems to domestically based Block 50/52 aircraft, and introduced the new Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP). The ability of the F-16CJ/DJ to employ GPS-guided weapons was extended to the rest of the Block 50/52 fleet. Upgraded Phase 1 aircraft redeliveries began in January 2002. The second phase extended these upgrades to overseas-based Block 50/52 Falcons, and redeliveries ran from July 2003 to June 2007. Phase II also included the introduction of autonomous beyond-visual-range air-intercept capability, the
Link-16datalink, and the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System(JHMCS).
The ongoing Phase 3 effort is focused on Block 40/42 F-16s. Development began in July 2003 and by June 2007 Lockheed Martin had completed roughly a quarter of the USAF’s Block 40/42 fleet. Phase 3 incorporates the M3+ Operational Flight Program (OFP) which extends the capabilities of the first two phases to the Block 40/42 fleet and adds Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS), the new
NATO-standard datalink network. Development of an M4+ OFP began in late 2002; this update will allow use of the on Block 40/42/50/52 aircraft. Northrop Grummanwas awarded a contract in early 2004 to develop an M5+ upgrade kit to update the AN/APG-68(V)5 radars on the Block 40/42/50/52 Falcons to the AN/APG-68(V)9 standard; upgrading of Block 40/42 aircraft began in 2007 and is to become operational on the Block 50/52 aircraft by 2010. An M6+ OFP is under consideration, and could include integration of the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb(SDB) on CCIP aircraft, which is planned to begin in fiscal year 2012.
Turkey became the first international customer for the CCIP update with the signing of a $1.1 billion contract on 26 April 2005 to upgrade an initial 76 Block 40/50 and 41 Block 30 F-16C/Ds to an equivalent of the Phase 3/M5+ OFP standard under the "Peace Onyx III" Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. This work will be performed by
Turkish Aerospace Industries(TAI) and is due to be completed in 2012; however, Turkey holds on option on the upgrade of the remainder of its 100 Block 40s, which could extend the program. [ [http://www.f-16.net/news_article2421.html “F-16 Peace Onyx III program kicks off at TAI.”] ]
The Combat Upgrade Plan Integration Details (CUPID) effort is an ongoing initiative to bring older U.S. Air National Guard and
Air Force Reserve CommandBlock 25/30/32 F-16s closer to Block 50/52 specifications. CUPID focuses on adding improved precision attack capabilities, night vision equipment, datalinks, carriage of the Litening II infrared targeting pod, and laser- and GPS-guided weapons.
The performance and flexibility of the F-16 has been an important and visible influence on aircraft development programs of three nations seeking to advance the design and manufacturing skills of their indigenous aerospace industries. The resulting aircraft are not copies of the basic F-16, but the inspiration of the Fighting Falcon on their design is readily apparent.
AIDC F-CK-1A/B "Ching Kuo" Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF)
Due to U.S. refusal to supply the
Republic of China(Taiwan) with either the F-16/79 or F-20, the Republic of China government tasked its Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation(AIDC) to develop an indigenous fighter. Preliminary design studies began in 1980, and the Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) program was launched two years later. Since Taiwanese industry had not developed a sophisticated fighter before, AIDC sought design and development assistance from General Dynamics and other major American aerospace companies. With such assistance, a design was finalized in 1985. The IDF design is by no means a copy of the F-16, but it was clearly influenced by the F-16, such as the layout of control surfaces, yet it also features design elements from the F-5, like its twin-engine configuration. In December 1988 the IDF aircraft was designated F-CK-1 and named after the late President Chiang Ching-Kuo. The first of four prototypes (3 single-seat and 1 twin-seat) flew on 28 May 1989. A total of 130 "Ching Kuo" fighters (102 F-CK-1A single-seaters and 28 F-CK-1B two-seaters) were delivered from 1994–2000. [Anon. “AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-Kuo.” "Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft", 15 January 2004. Retrieved: 31 May 2008.] [Goebel, Greg. [http://www.vectorsite.net/avf16_4.html “AIDC Ching Kuo Indigenous Fighter”] . "Vectorsite", 1 April 2007. Retrieved: 31 May 2008.] [Anon. [http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/ching/ “Ching-Kuo (IDF) Indigenous Defence Fighter, Taiwan.”] "Airforce-technology.com". Retrieved: 31 May 2008.]
Mitsubishi F-2A/B (FS-X/TFS-X)
In 1982, Japan’s Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) initiated studies of options for an indigenous fighter design to replace the
Mitsubishi F-1strike fighter. This initiative would later be designated FS-X (Fighter Support Experimental). (The two-seat trainer version was originally designated ‘TFS-X’.) Determining that an entirely indigenous development effort would be cost-prohibitive, the Japanese Defense Agency(JDA) sought an off-the-shelf fighter for its FS-X requirement, but none proved entirely acceptable. As a result, the JDA sought a co-development program based on a variant of an existing fighter type, and on 21 October 1987 announced its selection of a modified version of the F-16C/D based on General Dynamics’ " Agile Falcon" concept. The FS-X is larger and heavier than the F-16, has a greater wing area, and is mainly fitted with Japanese-developed avionics and equipment. The program was launched a year later and the first of four XF-2A/B prototypes flew on 7 October 1995. The Japanese Cabinet authorized production on 15 December 1995, with the designation F-2A/B being allocated to the single- and two-seat models, respectively. First flight of an F-2A occurred on 12 October 1999, and production aircraft deliveries began on 25 September 2000. Originally, 141 F-2A/B (83 F-2A and 58 F-2B) were planned, but only 130 (83/47 F-2A/B) were approved in 1995; due to high costs, in December 2004, the total was capped at 98 aircraft, and in early 2007 this was reduced to 94. [Anon. [http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article16.html “F-16 FSX/F-2 : F-16 Inspired Japanese Fighter.”] "F-16.net". Retrieved: 31 May 2008.] [Anon. “Mitsubishi F-2.” "Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft", updated 9 October 2007. Retrieved: 31 May 2008.] [Goebel, Greg. [http://www.vectorsite.net/avf16_4.html “Mitsubishi F-2”] . "Vectorsite", 1 April 2007. Retrieved: 31 May 2008.] [Anon. [http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/f2/ “F-2 Attack Fighter, Japan.”] "Airforce-technology.com". Retrieved: 31 May 2008.]
KAI T/A-50 Golden Eagle (KTX-2)
Building on its licensed manufacture of KF-16s, in 1992 Samsung Aerospace began work on designing a tandem-seat, supersonic, combat-capable jet trainer to replace the
BAE SystemsHawk 67 and Northrop T-38 Talonjet trainers operated by the Republic of Korea Air Force(RoKAF). Samsung worked closely with Lockheed and the basic KTX-2 design had been laid out by 1995. At this point the aerospace units of Samsung, Daewooand Hyundaiwere combined to form Korea Aerospace Industries(KAI) to ensure sufficient industrial “critical mass” existed to successfully develop the KTX-2. The T-50 resembles an 80%-scale F-16, but has a number of differences, not least being the fact that it has an engine air intake under each wing root, instead of a single under-belly intake, as well as a leading-edge extension more similar to that on the F/A-18 Hornet. The South Korean government gave its approval on 3 July 1997, and full-scale development work got underway in October. In February 2000, the KTX-2 was designated the T-50 Golden Eagle, and the first of two T-50 flight-test prototypes flew on 20 August 2002; the maiden flight of the first of two T-50 Lead-In Fighter Trainer (LIFT) prototypes – designated ‘A-50’ by the RoKAF and capable of combat – followed on 29 August 2003. The RoKAF plans to acquire 50 T-50 advanced trainers and 44 A-50 LIFT trainer and light attack aircraft. Its first production contract, for 25 T-50, was placed in December 2003 and the first pair of T-50 aircraft was delivered 29 December 2005, with the type entering operational service in April 2007. In December 2006, the RoKAF placed a second production contract for 50 T-50 and A-50 aircraft; the first A-50 is scheduled to be delivered in 2009. The further development of an F-50 (or FA-50) air defense variant to replace Korea’s numerous F-5E/F Tiger II aircraft is under consideration. [Anon. “KAI T-50 Golden Eagle.” "Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft", 5 December 2007. Retrieved: 31 May 2008.] [Goebel, Greg. [http://www.vectorsite.net/avf16_4.html “KAI T-50 Golden Eagle.”] "Vectorsite", 1 April 2007. Retrieved: 31 May 2008.] [Anon. [http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/t-50/ “T-50 Golden Eagle Jet Trainer and Light Attack Aircraft, South Korea.”] "Airforce-technology.com". Retrieved: 31 May 2008.]
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*Peacock, Lindsay. "On Falcon Wings: The F-16 Story". RAF Fairford, United Kingdom: The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund Enterprises, 1997. ISBN 1-899808-01-9.
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