General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon – 2

A picture of the General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon, one of two at Pima Air and Space Museum

The F-16 originated in a 1972 Air Force request for a lightweight air combat fighter (LWF) which was intended as a lower cost companion to the F-15 Eagle.  Prototypes began flight testing in 1974 and it was announced as the winner of the LWF competition in 1975.  The first full production aircraft were delivered to the Air Force in 1978.  Officially named Fighting Falcon the F-16 is almost universally called “Viper” by its pilots.  The name was taken from the fighter featured in the television series “Battlestar Galactica” which first aired at the time the F-16 was entering service.  Production of the F-16 has outlasted the company that designed it.  General Dynamics was bought by Lockheed-Martin in 1993.  As of 2017 a total of twenty-seven countries have operated the F-16 with more than 4,500 built.  Production is expected to continue through 2017 and Fighting Falcons will likely continue to serve for decades to come.


32 ft 9.5 in.


49 ft 3.5 in.


16 ft 8.5 in.


37,500 pounds (loaded)

Maximum Speed

Mach 2.05

Service Ceiling

55,000 ft


2,400 miles


One Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 turbofan with 23,830 pounds of thrust



General Dynamics

162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, Tucson International Airport, Arizona, 1992


Serial Number

Pima Air & Space Museum

Creating unlimited horizons in aerospace education through the preservation and presentation of the history of flight.

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