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Lightweight multi-role fighter

F-16V Viper

The Lockheed Martin F-16V is the latest variant of the F-16

Entered service ?
Crew 1 men
Dimensions and weight
Length ~ 15 m
Wing span ~ 10 m
Height ~ 5 m
Weight (empty) ~ 8.6 t
Weight (maximum take off) 12 ~ 19 t
Engines and performance
Engines 1 x Pratt & Whitney F110-GE-129 turbofan
Traction (dry / with afterburning) ~ 80 / 131.48 kN
Maximum speed ~ 2 120 km/h
Service ceiling ~ 15.2 km
Ferry range (with drop tanks) 4 215 km
Combat radius ~ 550 km
Cannon 1 x M61A1 20-mm cannon
Missiles AIM-120B, AIM-9L/M/P/X air-to-air missiles; AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles, AGM-154 JSOW, AGM-185 JASSM, AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles, Kongsberg Penguin Mk.3 air-to-ship missiles
Bombs CBU-103/104/105, GBU-31/32 JDAM bombs, DASA DWS 39 gliding submunitions dispenser


   In 2012 the US Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to upgrade a total of 145 F-16A and F-16B fighters operated by Taiwan's air force. The upgraded aircraft is known as the F-16V. Its unofficial nickname is the Viper due to the "V" letter in the designation. This lightweight multi-role fighter made its first flight in 2015. It is likely that Taiwan will be the first operator of this aircraft. In 2015 it was announced that Lockheed Martin will upgrade a total of 134 South Korea's KF-16 fighters to the F-16V standard. The US Air Force also had intentions to upgrade its fleet of more than 1 000 F-16s as an interim measure, until the F-35 is fielded. As upgrading existing forth-generation fighters is far cheaper than buying new fifth-generation fighters.

   The F-16V upgrade offers improved combat capabilities. It can be retrofitted to the previous F-16 aircraft, including the F-16E and F-16F. Also newly build F-16Vs are available.

   Key element of the Viper upgrade is an advanced Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar. This new radar steers beams electronically and redirects them from one location to another. It has got no moving parts. The radar spreads signals over multiple radio frequencies, making them difficult to detect and jam. This technology allows the aircraft to remain stealthy. Similar AESA radars are found on the fifth-generation fighters, such as the F-22 and F-35.

   The F-16V is compatible with AIM-9X air-to-air missiles. The Viper has a limited capability for air defense suppression missions. It can use AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles or JDAM bombs to attack enemy radar sites.

   This aircraft can be fitted with a Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pod. It provides target identification and autonomous tracking. This pod also generates GPS coordinates for precise weapon guidance from standoff ranges.

   Electro-mechanical instruments in the cockpit were replaced by a central pedestal display, developed by Elbit Systems of America. The Viper aircraft also has an upgraded mission computer and some other mission system enhancements. The F-16V has a new datalink, that provides interoperability with F-22 and F-35 aircraft. This fighter also has an electronic warfare suite.


F-16V Viper

F-16V Viper

F-16V Viper

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