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The Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon is one of the world’s most prolific fighter aircraft. Lockheed Martin delivered about 4,600 F-16s to over 25 countries. More than 3,000 F-16 fighters are currently operational worldwide. The F-16 and the F-15 Eagle were the world’s first aircraft able to withstand higher gravitational-equivalent forces than the pilots. The Fighting Falcon entered service in 1979. The last of 2,231 F-16 fighters for the US Air Force (USAF) was delivered in March 2005. The first two-seat F-16D version was accepted by the US government in January 2009.

F-16 Fighting

Lockheed Martin delivered the F-16 fighter to a number of countries including Bahrain, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Morocco, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, South Korea, Oman, Chile, and Poland.

Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) and Lockheed Martin signed an agreement to establish an F-16 fighter jet maintenance centre in Taiwan, in December 2019.

The fighter aircraft completed more than 13 million sorties and approximately 19.5 million flight hours, as of August 2021. The F-16 Block 70/72, the latest production configuration, has been ordered by five countries so far.

F-16 Fighting Falcon cockpit

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Advanced equipment fitted on the current build of the F-16 includes Honeywell colour flat-panel liquid crystal multifunction displays, digital terrain system, modular mission computer, colour video camera to record the pilot’s view of the head-up display (HUD), a colour triple-deck video recorder and an enhanced programmable display generator.

Under the USAF project Sure Strike, the F-16 is equipped with an improved data modem (IDM), which automatically provides target data to the HUD using data transmitted by a ground observer.

The seat-back angle of the aircraft has been increased from 13° to 30° to provide increased comfort for the pilot.

A follow-on programme, project Gold Strike, integrated an upgraded IDM for the transmission of images to and from a range of sources, including ground units and unmanned aircraft. The system can transmit images from the LANTIRN targeting pod and display video imagery to the cockpit.

The USAF F-16 aircraft features the Boeing joint helmet-mounted cueing system (JHMCS), currently in full-rate production. Deliveries of production systems began in 2004 and the system was first deployed operationally during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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