You have never seen twenty-seven F-16 Fighting Falcons taxying down the runway, fully armed and ready for immediate take off and battle. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rasheen Douglas
U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft from both the 8th and 419th Fighter Wings demonstrate an “elephant walk” formation as they taxi down a runway during an exercise Dec. 2, 2011, at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea.
The exercise showcased the capability of Kunsan’s Airmen to quickly and safely prepare aircraft for a wartime mission.
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,400 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976. Although no longer being purchased by the U.S. Air Force, improved versions are still being built for export customers. In 1993, General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation, which in turn became part of Lockheed Martin after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta.
The Fighting Falcon is a dogfighter with numerous innovations including a frameless bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while maneuvering, a seat reclined 30 degrees to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot, and the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire flight control system that makes it a highly nimble aircraft. The F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcan cannon and has 11 hardpoints for mounting weapons, and other mission equipment. Although the F-16’s official name is “Fighting Falcon”, it is known to its pilots as the “Viper”, due to it resembling a viper snake and after the Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper starfighter.