F-16 Fighting Falcon
USAF deliveries amounted to 620 F-16As and 122 F-16Bs by 1984. In 1989, 279 Block 15 F-16As were converted to an air defense configuration for the ANG squadrons by adding APG-66A radar, an APX interrogator, and a spotlight.
Block 25, in June 1984, introduced so many improvements like APG-68 radar and new fire control for night attacks and AIM-120 missiles that the F-16C designation was established. All of the 244 B Block 25s went to the USAF with F100-PW-100, but these were upgraded to -220E engines.
Block 30/32 F-16Cs appeared in July 1987 with larger air inlets for an engine bay that could hold either a General Electric FF110-GE-100 (Block 30) or a Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 (Block 32). Weapons options included up to eight tons of: six AIM-9M or AIM-120 missiles, four Mk 84 or 12 Mk 82 bombs, four GBU-10B or eight GBU-12B guided bombs, six AGM-65B, AGM-45, or AGM-88A missiles, or 12 chaff/flare dispensers. The 733 Block 30/32
F-16Cs built by 1989 provided pilots with the versatility to handle any type of mission.
The U.S. Navy ordered the first 14 F-16N fighters on January 7, 1984, to serve as adversary fighters. Until those F-16Ns were ready, the Navy borrowed, at no cost, 25 Israeli Kfir fighters, based on the French Mirage 5, but using a J79J-1E engine. Designated F-21A, they arrived in March 1986 to equip VF-43 at Oceana and VMF-401 at Yuma, and the last F-21As were returned to Israel in September 1989.
Similar to Block 30 Cs with the General Electric FF110-GE-100, the first of 22 F-16N ?ghters and four
TF-16N trainers arrived at Miramar in April 1987 with APG-66 radar and no guns, but they suffered structural cracks that led to their 1991 grounding.
Block 40/42 aircraft appeared in 1988 with stronger landing gear to handle a LANTIRN targeting podís weight and a new digital system for precision night attacks. Some 765 were on order by 1997.
Foreign Service for the F-16
Foreign sales began with a June 7, 1975, announcement of a four-nation European consortium to acquire 348 F-16s for NATO, after rejecting fighter proposals from Dassault, SAAB, and Northrop. Co-production contracts signed in July 1976 called for SABCA in Belgium and Fokker in the Netherlands to divide final assembly. To offset costs, European manufacturers would supply about 40% of the NAT0 aircraft value, and 10% of the USAF aircraft value.
The first Belgian F-16A flew on December 11, 1978, and the last of 96 flew on April 28, 1985, along with 20 F-18Bs and 58 aircraft produced for Denmark. Fokker flew the first Dutch F-16B on May 3, 1979, and also began delivery of 72 aircraft to Norway.
Although Iran ordered 160 F-16s in 1977, that contractís cancellation allowed planes to be allotted to Israelís 75-plane order in August 1978, and the first of 67 Block 5/10 F-16As arrived in July 1980. The first F-16 combat kills were two Syrian Mi-8 helicopters aiding the PLO on April 28, 1981. On June 7, eight F-16As with 16 2,000-pound bombs, escorted by six F-15As, flew 600 miles to destroy the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor, eliminating that particular threat for two decades.
When Syria moved SAM batteries into the Bekaa valley, an air battle began on June 9, 1982. F-16s shot down 44 of the 85 Syrian aircraft claimed in air-to-air combat, demonstrating the American fighterís superiority.
Pakistan received 28 F-16A and 12 F-16B Block 15 Falcons from January 1983 to March 1986. Two squadrons formed with those fighters patrolled the Afghanistan border during the wartime Soviet occupation, and by November 1988 claimed to have downed about eight intruding Afghan or Soviet aircraft with their AIM-7L missiles. Another Pakistan F-16 order was blocked by the United States in 1990.
The Republic of Korea began with 40 block 32 aircraft from Fort Worth in 1987 and, beginning in 1991, added 120 Block 50 F-16C/Ds with 12 completed at Fort Worth, 36 from kits assembled at Sachon by Samsung, and 72 KF-16s produced under license by Samsung from 1994 to 2000. An order for 20 more Block 50 aircraft from Samsung would be added in July 2002.
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