The F-16 Fighting Falcon was produced by General Dynamics who became Lockheed who then merged with Martin Marietta to become Lockheed Martin. The F-16 entered service in January 1979 as a multi-role jet fighter that evolved into an all-weather multi-role aircraft capable of sustaining 9-g turns. The F-16 is relatively inexpensive to purchase and maintain so the U.S. and 25 other countries added it to their inventory. The Fighting Falcon is referred to by its pilots as the “Viper” and will remain in USAF service until 2025.
In 1978 the Portuguese Air Force 301 Squadron “Jaguares” equipped with the G-91R Gina took part in their first NATO Tiger Meet held in Belgium. In 1979 the 301st gained full membership in the NATO Tiger Meet Association. In 1987, 1996 and 2002 the 301st hosted the NTM at Montijo AB. In 1993 the squadron re-equipped with the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet A which they flew until 2005. In November 2005 the 301st received the F-16 Fighting Falcon AM/BM. In 2011 the Portuguese 301st won the Silver Tiger Trophy and the Best Flying Unit Award.
General specifications F-16 Fighting Falcon
Primary Function – Multi-role fighter
Manufacturer – General Dynamics Corp. / Lockheed Martin Corp.
Initial Unit cost - F-16C/D, $20 million plus
First Deployed - January 1979 (F-16A)
Crew – 1 x F-16C / 1 or 2 x F-16D
Length - 49 ft, 5 in (14.8 m)
Height - 16 ft (4.8 m)
Wingspan - 32 ft, 8 in (9.8 m)
Power Plant - F-16C/D
1 x Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-200/220/229
1 x General Electric F110-GE-100/129
Thrust - F-16C/D / 27,000 lb (12,150 kg)
Speed - 1,500 mph (Mach 2 @ altitude)
Ceiling - Above 50,000 ft (15 km)
Maximum Takeoff Weight - 37,500 lb (16,875 kg)
Range - Greater than 2,425 mi (2,100 nm / 3,900 km)
Combat Radius F-16C
851.6 mi (1,370 km / 740 nm) w/ 2 x 2,000 lb bombs + 2 x AIM-9 + 1,040 U.S. gal external tanks
391.3 mi (630 km / 340 nm) w/ 4 x 2,000 lb bombs + 2 x AIM-9 + 340 U.S. gal external tanks
230.2 mi (370 km / 200 nm) + 2 hr. 10 min. patrol w/ 2 x AIM-7 + 2 x AIM-9 + 1,040 lb U.S. gal
1 x M-61A1 20mm multi-barrel cannon with 500 rounds
External stations can carry up to six air-to-air missiles
Conventional air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions
Electronic countermeasure pods.