It’s Milestone Monday, FighterSweep Fans!

Today we recall 17 August 1978, the day the world was first introduced to the General Dynamics (now Lockheed-Martin) F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The popular nickname for the F-16–the Viperis rumored to have come about because of the aircraft’s resemblance to spaceships flown on a popular science-fiction television series in the late 1970s (READ: Battlestar Galactica).

From the test phase into the production phase, then on into the service life of the jet, the moniker has stuck around and it has proven to be the perfect descriptor for the aircraft.

Major Ryan "Rider" Corrigan pilots a Block 50 F-16CJ through a high-speed, high-G turn during a demonstration of the Viper's supreme agility.
Major Ryan “Rider” Corrigan pilots a Block 50 F-16CJ through a high-speed, high-G turn during a demonstration of the Viper’s supreme agility.

The F-16 has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most lethal fighter aircraft ever designed. Compact, lightweight, supremely agile, its all-weather and multi-role capability has been a mainstay in airborne combat operations world-wide for more than thirty years.

To date, over 4,500 F-16s have been produced and seen service with the armed forces in twenty-six different nations.

To further celebrate this milestone, the video features the Viper East Demonstration Team from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. You’ll have the chance to see the Block 50 rage through the airspace from both the crowd perspective on the ground, split-screen with the in-cockpit view.

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For all you F-16 lovers out there, this is right up your alley!