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Lockheed F-16I Sufa (Storm)


Lightweight Multirole Fighter


The F-16I Sufa is a highly-localized Israeli take on the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon Block 52 lightweight multirole fighter mark.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 7/22/2019
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Specifications


Year: 2004
Status: Active, In-Service
Manufacturer(s): Lockheed Martin - USA / Elbit Systems; Israel Aerospace Industries - Israel
Production: 102
Capabilities: Fighter; Interception;
Crew: 2
Length: 48.56 ft (14.8 m)
Width: 32.15 ft (9.8 m)
Height: 15.75 ft (4.8 m)
Weight (Empty): 19,842 lb (9,000 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 37,479 lb (17,000 kg)
Power: 1 x Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 afterburning turbofan engine developing 27,000lb of thrust.
Speed: 1,501 mph (2,415 kph; 1,304 kts)
Ceiling: 52,493 feet (16,000 m; 9.94 miles)
Range: 2,001 miles (3,220 km; 1,739 nm)
Operators: Israel
The F-16I "Sufa" ("Storm") is a highly-localized twin-seat Israeli version of the classic General Dynamics (now Lockheed) F-16 "Fighting Falcon" lightweight multirole fighter. The design incorporates many unique features to make it largely Israeli in nature and updates key aspects of the already proven fighter. The F-16I is, at its heart, a direct evolution of the F-16 "Block 52" offering.

The formal IAF requirement for a such a fighter was born in September of 1997 and the F-16I design competed successfully against the service's other option - more F-15I Ra'am long-range strike platforms. The definitive selection being made during July of 1999. From there, 102 total F-16Is were placed on order by the IAF, resulting in a modified F-16 flying in prototype form on December 23rd, 2003. Deliveries to the Israeli air service began as soon as February of the following year.

The F-16I incorporates changes to its avionics, instrumentation, and weapons support (the APG-68(9) series radar fit in the nose and the Pratt & Whitney (PW) F100-PW-229 afterburning turbofan engine at the tail are both retained). About half of the existing aircraft's avionics set has been replaced with a customized suite and a new, locally-developed, Helmet-Mounted Sight (HMS) was introduced. Broadened weapon support for Israeli-made missiles, such as the Python 5 from Raphael, was also introduced during this design and development process. Beyond this, the airframe was modified to support conformal fuel tanks along either side of the dorsal line to improve operational ranges at the expense of additional weight.

The result in a more lethal target-hunting aerial platform suitable for use within the current attack-or-defend doctrine of the IAF. The F-16I fights alongside the F-15 "Eagle" air superiority/multirole marks (A, C, and I) to form an impressive "one-two" punch. The current (2019) IAF inventory includes as many as 175 F-16-related fighters (both C and I models) in addition to 66 of the aforementioned F-15 types. A dozen F-35I 5th generation stealth-centric strike fighters are also on call with some 38 more to follow, further bolstering the existing IAF fighter fleet.






Armament



STANDARD, FIXED:
1 x 20mm M61A1 internal automatic cannon.
2 x Short-range, air-to-air missiles on wingtip launchers.

Approximately 17,000lb of externally-held drop/launch stores across nine total hardpoints (three under each wing, three under the fuselage). Supported weapon systems include additional short-range or medium-range air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, precision-guided bombs, conventional drop bombs, and rocket pods. Also supported are 3 x Jettisonable drop tanks.

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft Gatling-style rotating gun
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of a medium-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft guided bomb munition

Variants / Models



• F-16I "Sufa" - Base Series Designation.
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