Evaluation flight HAF F-16 block 52+ by USAF pilot.The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft developed by General Dynamics in the United States. Designed as a lightweight fighter, it evolved into a successful multi-role 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 and probably most significant current Western fighter program, with over 4,0 aircraft built since production started in 1976. Though no longer produced for the United States Air Force, it is still produced for export.
The Fighting Falcon is regarded as a superb dogfighter, with innovations including a frameless 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.In 1993 General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation, which in turn became part of Lockheed Martin after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta.Block 50/52 Plus (F-16U)
Ordered by Polish Air Force. These aircraft are fitted with the latest avionics (including the ALE-50 Towed Decoy System) and provisions for Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs). On 9 November, 2006, it was unveiled that the Polish F-16s will be named Jastrzab (Hawk). Limited operational readiness will be achieved in 2008 and last F16 should be delivered by 2012. The Hellenic Air Force ordered this version with the CFTs. All two-seat "Plus" airframes include the enlarged Avionics Dorsal Spine which adds 30 cubic feet (850 L) to the airframe for more avionics with only small increases in weight and drag. This version is sometimes called F-16U and is the foundation of F-16E/F Block 60. The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) also ordered two-seat versions of the Block 52+. Singapore's most recent order consists of an aircraft model rumored to be the exact same configuration as the venerable F-16I, but re-designated to avoid sensitivity. The latest D+ models ordered by the RSAF can be noted to have the exact same antennas, sensor locations, cockpit configurations as that of the F-16I. These planes are also fitted with DASH-3 Helmet-mouted sighting system, 600-Gallon tanks, CFTs, AMRAAM, HARM and laser-guided weapons, fully-configured for long-range strike. The Pakistan Air Force ordered 18 Block 52 Plus F-16s with an option for 18 more as part of a $5.1 arms package. Pakistani F-16s will be equipped with AIM-120C5 AMRAAM, AIM-9M-8/9, JDAM, Harpoon Block II, Joint-Helmet Mounted Cueing System, CFTs and possibly IRIS-T.