F-16 Viper: The Best Non-Stealth Fighter Jet Ever

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is one of the world’s most successful and combat-proven military aircraft to ever fly. F-16s in operation with militaries worldwide have now collectively taken part in more than 400,000 combat sorties and have logged a combined 19 million flight hours. Today, the air services of 25 different militaries worldwide continue to operate F-16s with roughly 3,000 Fighting Falcons still operational. The United States Air Force itself operates more F-16s than any other type of aircraft as part of its fighter fleet. The success and the longevity of the F-16 can be attributed both to its reliance and combat capabilities and to its impressive cost-effectiveness, with the Falcon coming in at a significantly reduced cost compared to its larger fourth-generation counterpart in the F-15.

Its proven track record and cost efficiency have allowed the F-16 to soldier on even in the face of the continued proliferation of more modern fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft. To ensure that this remains the case, the F-16 is receiving upgrades that will allow it to remain competitive in the air for years to come. Moving beyond the C/D variants of the aircraft that have become commonplace in many air forces around the world, the newest generation of F-16s – labeled the F-16V or “Viper” – are incorporating a number of technological enhancements that will further improve the F-16s combat capabilities.

Here Comes the F-16 Viper

Revealed for the first time in 2012, the Lockheed Martin F-16 Viper makes use of advanced technology leveraged from advanced fifth-generation fighters such as the F-35 and F-22 as a means to improve the F-16V’s interoperability with these aircraft. Perhaps the most significant upgrade incorporated by the F-16 Viper is the installation of the advanced Northrup Grumman APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, which gives the F-16V fifth-generation radar capabilities. The addition of the APG-83 AESA radar affords F-16 pilots greatly enhanced situational awareness by granting greater detection and tracking ranges along with the ability to track more than 20 sperate targets at a time, while also producing high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) maps for precision strike operations in all types of environments and offering greatly increased system reliability.

Along with the upgraded radar capabilities, F-16 Vipers are also outfitted with a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) avionics subsystem, an improved Center Pedestal Display (CPD), and an upgraded data bus.

The F-16 Viper is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney engine, and the aircraft has a maximum speed of Mach two alone with a maximum range of 1,740 nautical miles. The Viper is capable of being equipped with a variety of air-to-air weapons systems, and is also able to be outfitted for air-to-ground strikes with both tactical missiles and laser-guided bombs.


The F-16 Viper can either be produced itself or offered as an upgrade package for existing F-16s. To date, a number of countries have ordered either newly produced F-16 Vipers or the upgrade package, including Taiwan, Bahrain, and Bulgaria.

While clearly no fighter jet is perfect, any air force around the world that cannot afford say the F-35 and wants to avoid Russia’s latest weaponry the F-16 Viper seems like a world-class choice.

Eli Fuhrman is an Assistant Researcher in Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest and a recent graduate of Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program, where he focusedd on East Asian security issues and U.S. foreign and defense policy in the region.

Related Posts

Understanding the WWII ɩeɡасу of the Soviet K-7 Heavy ЬomЬeг

The Soviet Heavy ЬomЬeг K-7 was a remarkable aircraft built in Russia during the 1930s. It was designed Ƅy Konstantin Kalinin, an amƄitious engineer and aircraft designer,…

Russia’s New PAK DA Stealth ЬomЬeг Will Have Hypersonic weарoпѕ Mounted on It

Last month, the United States Air foгсe released a new artist rendering of its still-in-development B-21 Raider. The latest images of the heavy ЬomЬeг саme after it was announced in June that…

To allow the enormous A400M to launch vertically, Airbus made a $1 billion investment.

The A400 was never intended for verticle capability. It was designed to have short field takeoff and landing. It is a very capable aircraft. JATO has not…

The Gatling ɡᴜп on the MiG-27’s jаw-dropping рoweг аɡаіпѕt eпemу aircraft

The two-meter long cannon generated a remarkable 6 tons of recoil, causing vibrations ѕtгoпɡ enough to сгасk fuel tanks, dаmаɡe avionics systems, and consistently dіѕɩodɡe landing lights…

For MQ-9 training, ASTi will provide 27 Simulated Environments for Realistic ATC (SERA).

ASTi 𝚛𝚎c𝚎ntl𝚢 𝚛𝚎c𝚎iv𝚎𝚍 𝚊 c𝚘nt𝚛𝚊ct 𝚊w𝚊𝚛𝚍 𝚏𝚛𝚘m SAIC 𝚏𝚘𝚛 27 inst𝚊nc𝚎s 𝚘𝚏 its in𝚍𝚞st𝚛𝚢-l𝚎𝚊𝚍in𝚐 Sim𝚞l𝚊t𝚎𝚍 Envi𝚛𝚘nm𝚎nt 𝚏𝚘𝚛 R𝚎𝚊listic ATC (SERA) 𝚙𝚛𝚘𝚍𝚞ct. In 𝚊 n𝚞ts𝚑𝚎ll, SERA 𝚙𝚛𝚘vi𝚍𝚎s 𝚊𝚞t𝚘m𝚊t𝚎𝚍,…

The F-15 Eagle: The Best fіɡһteг in History: Unveiling Its ѕᴜргemасу

The McDoппell Doυglas F-15 Eagle staпds as a twiп-eпgiпe fіɡһteг aircraft that has faithfυlly served the US Air foгсe for пυmeroυs decades. Siпce its iпtrodυctioп iп 1976,…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *