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Lockheed Martin unveils latest version of F-16 Fighting Falcon


February 15, 2012

The latest version of the F-16 (not pictured) features a number of enhancements designed to enable the 4th generation fighter to better interoperate with fifth generation fighters (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

The latest version of the F-16 (not pictured) features a number of enhancements designed to enable the 4th generation fighter to better interoperate with fifth generation fighters (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

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Since its introduction in 1978, over 4,450 F-16 Fighting Falcon's have been built, making it one of the most successful military aircraft of all time. Although it is no longer purchased by the U.S. Air Force (where it is scheduled to remain in service until 2025), improved versions are still being built by Lockheed Martin for 26 nations around the world. The latest version, unveiled this week at the Singapore Airshow, is the F-16V, which features a number of enhancements designed to enable the 4th generation fighter to better interoperate with the 5th generation F-35 and F-22 fighters.

The "V" designation of the F-16V refers to "Viper," which is nickname given to the F-16 by U.S. Air Force pilots due to its similarity to Battlestar Galactica's Colonial Viper starfighter. Amongst the enhancements included in the new F-16V are an upgraded mission computer and architecture, improvements to the cockpit, and an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

AESA radar allows the aircraft to broadcast powerful radar signals that are spread out across a band of frequencies that makes it hard to detect over background noise. Lockheed Martin says it has also developed a way to "affordably" retrofit AESA radar to existing F-16s.

The F-16V is just the latest in the continuing evolution of the aircraft, which began with the initial production F-16A (single seat) and F-16B (two seat) variants. Other variants include the F-16C/D which entered production in 1984, and Block 60 F-16E/F/IN/IQ variants.

Source: Lockheed Martin

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

I still think the USofA would have been better off buying the upgraded F-105 variant.


war is , come on who does it help? THINK! it only helps corporations that make war machines, WHO DOES THIS HELP or benefit? shareholders, the elite? does this help a human in Africa have food or water, war only benefits Corporations, stoopid humans, do you really hate another race or color so much that you have to KILL them? Darren Quick, Please think about it before you collapse my post, sorry Darren, I know you are Human, I will take the flack, it is my post, please let it stand

Bill Bennett

re; Bill Bennett

When a masked man sticks a weapon in your face and demands your valuables it is called armed robbery. If you defend yourself it is called a fight and if you subdue the criminal and put him in jail it is called justice. If a nation shelters, trains, arms, and launches armed people at another nation to take its valuables and the second nation resists it is called War, with the hope that the aggressor government will be removed from power. It helps all the people who\'s valuables are not stolen.


Why aren\'t they increasing its stealth characteristics? The intakes can be made stealthy, the back rudder can be slanted V, RAM coatings can be used. Even internal weapons bay can be attached. The cockpit can be single piece. The back of the engine can be cooled. There\'s so much more in this ideal fighter aircraft, Slowburn: its all false flag operations justifying greater military research, development, buildup, deployment and utilization, the US trillion dollars on war on terror could have wiped out world poverty for ever, we would not have known a suffering Africa, or people dying of hunger,

Dawar Saify

@ Dawar. Why must it ALWAYS be the United States that HAS to come to the rescue of the entire world?! China, Russia, and many other nations now have enormous amounts of wealth, but the US is the bad guy? If countries want our help, pay our taxes. We don\'t have the money anymore.

As for the F-16...the improvements you mention would price it out of reach for many of the nations buying them. This isn\'t for huge countries. This is for small nations to buy. Good for Lockheed Martin. Now if we can only get them to do the same for the A-10.


When is America going to throttle back on war machines and start funneling all that money into their economy which is on the brink of collapse? Are they getting ready to go out with a big bang?

What they need to do is make it into a F16XL/cranked arrow delta wing, where it could carry 2x's the fuel/range, weapon load. Then put on a vextoring nozzle saving much weight while increasing manurability, and eliminate the tail. Next neither Iraq or Afghanistan attacked the US. It was some thugs hiding in ungovernable mountains. What needed to be done was Special Ops to take the thugs out. What we need is a far smaller military of just the armed forces, no more army/navy/marines waste. We really don't have a choice, either we cut the military or go broke Planes like a simplified composite F16/F35 XL internals could cut costs 50% if done right. jerryd

The F-16V is a logical last-minute response to Boeing\'s Super Hornet International-roadmap (IR) block advancement. It\'s probably something that LM should have been developing and promoting 2-3 years ago, but with the F-35 in no way being an F-16-priced future fighter as was originally advertised and hoped to be, it only makes sense now that LM continues to evolve and offer truly credible and cost-effective next-gen derivatives of the F-16 platform.

What LockMart should have been developing and have as an operational option today, would be a truly game-changing F-16XL type variant, but regardless of that mistake in company judgement, this so-called F-16V will still have legs.

Unfortunately however, with better strategic company thinking, what should have been offered by around 2014-2015 should have been a completely radicalized F-16 derivative with new inlet, new avionics back bone for single seat, flight control lift enhancements, possibly lower drag and reduced RCS vertical stab and an even newer generation engine such as the F110 advanced-augmented + fluidic thrust vectoring.

More lessons learned.

Don Koh

BSG for the win, not super relevant but I love the connection here between sci-fi and the F-16, especially since the re-imaged BSG is my favorite show ever.

Tyler Totten

All the pacifist here fail to realize that producing F-16\'s IS the economy! Who do you think builds \"War Machines\" ? Green Aliens? or Humans who collect paychecks? And who do you think \"Stockholders\" are? You have any stock? A pension? A 401K? Dividend income? These are all \"Publicly Held\" Companies. Do you know what that means? I\'m amazed that everybody complains that we \"Don\'t build things anymore in USA\" Yes we do. And they are high-dollar items that bring great prosperity to the American people. We need to get some of our oil money back. Let the Chinese build kids toys and household goods.


Many are complaining that this F-16 doesn\'t offer \"Vectored thrust, stealth, high-dollar this, high-dollar that, etc, etc\" Keep in mind...this is an \"Export\" fighter. It has to compete in a marketplace. If countries want the high dollar stuff they buy the Bugatti not the Toyota. Besides, why would we want everybody else to have the economy fighters with the latest technology to match ours?


Hmm, my feeling as to why companies that build aircraft for the DoD don't move overseas is due to the technology involved. The only way a company like that could move to another country is if a base was built around it. I'm thinking that it probably wouldn't go well if a company such as LM tried to develop and build cutting edge tech based planes like the F-22 or YF-23 in a facility located overseas.

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