The Lockheed F-16V "Viper" is the ultimate incarnation for the storied Fighting Falcon lightweight multirole fighter line. The aircraft was debuted at the 2012 Singapore Air Show by Lockheed Martin and promises a slew of improvements for current Fighting Falcon operators (via direct upgrade of existing, in-service airframes) as well as those nations seeking to upgrade from older 4th Generation fighter forms (the Soviet-era MiG-29 Fulcrum is a major target of such sales efforts). The "V" in the designation has earned the new mark the nickname of "Viper".
The F-16V took to the air for the first time on October 21st, 2015.
The aircraft is equipped with the AN/APG-83 Active, Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar in the nose as well as an all-modern/all-digital mission computer integrated into a revised cockpit. Ground collision avoidance is through an automated system and the fighter carries a new Electronic Warfare (EW) suite as part of its advanced design. The overall form and function of this multirole aircraft remain intact with its single-seat, single-engine arrangement as well as excellent ordnance-carrying capabilities (primarily missiles and rockets with an internal cannon designed for close-in work).
To date (2019), Viper operators include Bahrain (purchased), Greece, Slovakia (committed), and Taiwan (upgrades and purchased). Bahrain has ordered sixteen new-build Vipers (Block 70/72). The Block 70/72 is a modern Fighting Falcon design, adding up to 50% life to the series. Hellenic Air Force upgrades involve a direct Lockheed partnership to cover several aircraft types and bringing the work to Greece itself. Taiwan fleet upgrades began in January of 2017 and now includes a request to purchase sixty-six additional Viper units.
The F-16V has also been rebranded as the "F-21" for possible sale to India to fulfill a standing requirement. This entry is detailed elsewhere on this site.
The original Fighting Falcon forms came online in 1978 and over 4,600 (over 3,000 in active service) have been built to date (2019), making it one of the true Cold War (1947-1991) success stories. Operators number over twenty-five and include the United States Air Force (USAF), Israel, and several European powers. The former General Dynamics product is now under the Lockheed Martin brand label. Lockheed intends to keep the F-16 family viable until 2070 with the various planned initiatives.
January 2020 - Taiwan and the United States are moving ahead with a deal to cover procurement of the F-16V multirole fighter for the island nation. Up to sixty-six aircraft are to make up the deal. The sale was approved in August of 2019 and the Taiwanese budget was approved in November of 2019 to cover the purchase.
August 2020 - An F-16V has begun flight-testing the new Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System II (JHMCSII) system.
January 2021 - The first F-16V standard aircraft for the Hellenic Air Force has completed its first flight. The flight took place out of Tanagra Air Base outside of Athens on January 17th with the conversion work completed by Greece's own Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB).
March 2021 - Taiwan has completed its upgrade program of F-16A/B fighters to the V-model standard. The fleet consists of 42 airframes brought up to the new mark.
June 2022 - Jordan has elected to purchase eight the F-16V fighters in Block 70 configuration.
Bahrain; Greece; Jordan (announced); Slovakia; Taiwan
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
49.2 ft (15.00 m)
31.0 ft (9.45 m)
16.7 ft (5.10 m)
22,046 lb (10,000 kg)
48,006 lb (21,775 kg)
+25,959 lb (+11,775 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Lockheed Martin F-16V production variant)
monoplane / mid-mounted / swept-back
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are mounted along the midway point of the sides of the fuselage.
The planform features wing sweep back along the leading edges of the mainplane, promoting higher operating speeds.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the Lockheed Martin F-16V production variant)
1 x General Electric GE F110-GE afterburning turbofan engine developing 32,500lb of thrust.
1 x 20mm M61A1 Vulcan Gatling-style internal cannon.
11 total external hardpoints (2 x Wingtip; 3 x Fuselage; 6 x Underwing) for the carrying of various ordnance types (wingtip mounts reserved for Sidewinder or AMRAAM air-to-air missiles). Up to 17,000lb.
Supported ordnance includes short-range and medium-range air-to-air missiles, laser-guided / precision-guided drop bombs, conventional drop bombs, and rocket pods.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
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