Seventy-Eight Years of Jet Fighters
On Aug. 27, 1939, a stubby-winged airplane made of unpainted steel alloy took off over Germany and soared into history. Instead of a pointy propeller hub in the nose, the Heinkel 178 had an open-mouthed turbojet intake, making it the first operational jet-powered aircraft. The He 178 could only... Read more
Why an Indian F-16 Fighting Falcon Will Be Such a Big Deal
On June 19, Lockheed Martin announced in advance of a U.S. visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that it had reached a joint-venture agreement with Tata Advanced Systems to move its F-16 production line to India. This deal would be contingent on the Indian Air Force selecting the... Read more
F-16s Could Fly for 92 Years
Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the iconic F-16 jet fighter, just completed a two-year test that simulated a staggering 92 years of normal flying for one of the single-engine planes. That’s a long time. And amazingly, the F-16 — a 1990s-vintage Block 50 version — held up just fine. “The... Read more
One Last Chance to Buy Brand New F-16s
For decades the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon — more popularly know as the “Viper” — has dominated the fighter market around the globe. But while the F-16 is still one of the best fourth-generation fighters money can buy, the production line is starting to slow as sales dry... Read more
The Amazing Inflatable U.S. Air Force F-16
The U.S. Air Force has gotten pretty lax about defending its air bases and parked warplanes from aerial bombardment. But that wasn’t always the case, as RAND analyst Alan Vick explains in a new study. “In the late 1980s, the USAF developed inflatable decoy aircraft like the F-16 shown... Read more
Iraq’s New F-16s Bomb Islamic State
The Iraqi Ministry of Defense says its F-16IQ fighter bombers have bombed the Islamic State terrorist group, also known by the acronym ISIL. If true, this would be the first time Baghdad has sent the new jets into battle. On Sept. 6, Iraqi defense minister Khaled Al Obaidi held a... Read more
The U.S. Military Scrambled F-16s to Fend Off a Crazy Cat Lady
On Aug. 28, two F-16s from the Colorado Air National Guard’s 140th Wing took off from Buckley Air Force Base. Their mission? Escort a Boeing 767 passenger jet flying from Frankfurt, Germany to Las Vegas. The Condor airlines plane needed to make an emergency stop in Denver to rid... Read more
The U.S. Air Force Is Slowly Killing the F-16 — and Leaving Gaps in America’s Defenses
As the U.S. Air Force faced stiff opposition in Congress to its latest attempts to kill the A-10 Warthog, it offered up a thinly veiled threat. If it couldn’t ditch the low- and slow-flying planes, the service would cut somewhere else … like its F-16 fleet. The cuts were... Read more
The U.S. Air Force Is Worried
Gen. Herbert Carlisle, commander of the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command, is worried. For decades, 400 “fourth-generation” Air Force F-15s and nearly 2,000 F-16s dominated the skies over foreign battlefields. But today China and Russia have fighters of their own that outclass the F-15s and F-16s. Worse, the... Read more
Test Pilot Admits the F-35 Can’t Dogfight
A test pilot has some very, very bad news about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The pricey new stealth jet can’t turn or climb fast enough to hit an enemy plane during a dogfight or to dodge the enemy’s own gunfire, the pilot reported following a day of mock... Read more
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