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The most successful US tactical jet of the last 25 years? Yes, I do think that one could easily say that. Not only has it been exported more than any type in that time, but it is still in production since the first flight in 1974/5. Though the plane looks very much the same, there have been a huge number of improvements in engine and avionics, not to mention some airframe changes that will allow the initiated to be able to tell the difference between them. I must confess to you all that I pay little attention to modern aircraft as I once did so a large mental database on these planes has gone away from lack of use!

I can tell you that they have proved themselves to be good light bombers and adequate dog-fighters. I find it interesting that the only US F-16 to shoot down an enemy plane in recent years (perhaps ever) was a two seater! Again, I know little of the air to air combat history of US F-16s so perhaps a more enlightened reader can fill in the details I missed. However, I do know that the major mission of the F-16 is moving mud and not air interception. Now before I get e-mails from a number of ANG guys who are flying the air defense mission, I do realize that in the US, that is one of their major roles in the Guard. However, in the regular USAF, most of them are ground attack.

That is why in the Night Falcon, there are the FLIR and other sensors to allow pilots to be precise in delivering free-fall munitions. The systems used are similar if not the same as used in the F-15E Strike Eagle. This allows for accuracy in all weather and lighting conditions. Thanks to constant upgrades of the airframe, and the relatively low cost of the aircraft, there will be F-16s around for many more decades.
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  • Store location: Manukau City, Auckland, NZ

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