Looks like the US Air Force will have the F-16 Falcon in its arsenal for decades to come. Today it was announced that the Air Force has commissioned Lockheed Martin to extend the overall flight hours of the F-16 from 8,000 to 12,000. This decision will ensure the the aircraft will remain active for many more years.
Interesting F-16 Video Footage
“Following F-16 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) structural modifications, the U.S. Air Force could safely operate Block 40-52 aircraft to 2048 and beyond,” a release said.
“Combined with F-16 avionics modernization programs like the F-16V, SLEP modifications demonstrate that the Fighting Falcon remains a highly capable and affordable 4th Generation option for the U.S. Air Force and international F-16 customers,” said Susan Ouzts, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 program.
The Air Force claims it has the capacity in the F-16C community “to recapitalize … radar to serve the same function as the F-15 has done and thereby reduce the different systems that we have to sustain and operate, so that makes it more efficient,” said Maj. Gen. Scott D. West, director of current operations and the service’s deputy chief of staff for operations at the Pentagon. – Military.com
The Air Force has stated that it intends to replace the F-15C/D aircraft with the F-16 Falcon. What do you think? Is the Falcon capable enough to do the job of F-15?
The F-16 is a great aircraft and has served the US for many years as its premier air-to-air fighter. It is a good decision to keep it around as long as possible with the US having a limited number of F-22’s and the F-35 seemingly more suited to the air to ground role.
Featured image of U.S. Air Force Airmen 1st Class Jeremy Andrews and Stephen Long, both crew chiefs with the 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, performing preflight checks beneath an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft during exercise Green Flag West 11-6 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev F-16 by by Senior Airman Brett Clashman, US Air Force