The F16 is an important aircraft in the US military, and I got the chance to see one up close at the Oshkosh 2010 air show (read about other military vehicles at Oshkosh 2010 here). I was pretty lucky to see one up close, since two years ago, when there was an F-22 Raptor at the show, it only did a fly-by and did not even land. But that’s only because the Raptor is the most advanced fighter the US military uses.
Built by General Dynamics, the F16 has been one of the primary multirole combat aircraft in US military history. This designation describes an aircraft that is capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground attack. Two other craft that have fit this category are the F-4 Phantom II and the F/A-18 Hornet. The F16 was developed in the 70s and officially joined the military in 1970.
The F16 is armed with as many as six AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missiles. It has the ability to be armed with other air-to-air missiles, including radar-guided ones. Fulfilling its multirole function, the F16 can also carry bombs for ground attack.
The F16 was developed through the military’s Lightweight Fighter Program. This endeavor was based on the premise that a lighter aircraft would be able to maneuver better in combat. The F16 has mostly served for the US in operations in the Middle East, such as Operation Desert Storm (1991), and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The replacement for the F16 is the F-35 Fighter (Lightning II), which is due to begin its service in 2011. The F16 will still continue to be used in the Air Force until 2025.
Be sure to go to the Oshkosh air show so you can see an F16 up close and in person. It’s cool to see these aircraft on TV and in the movies, but there’s nothing like seeing one in action for yourself. If you want the closest thing to F16 military surplus, click here.
Written by Craig Kent, member of the Best Military Surplus team.