Air Force

August 16, 2013

This Week in History

Courtesy photo

 
1978: AF accepts first production model F-16

The Air Force accepted its first production model F-16, aircraft 78-0001, Aug. 17, 1978, from the General Dynamics plant, now Lockheed Martin, in Fort Worth, Texas. Up until 1959, U.S. fighter aircraft production starts were fairly constant. But at that point, the national strategy changed from mutually assured destruction to flexible response. Trying to save money and grow efficiencies, the new defense secretary, Robert McNamara, demanded all weapon systems go through systems analysis prior to purchase. New fighter production starts ground to a halt.

During Vietnam, air combat rules of engagement required visual recognition of the enemy prior to firing a missile. Many fighter aircraft were designed to intercept soviet bombers with long range missiles. The visual recognition requirement combined with the poor performance of some of the missiles resulted in many more close-in fights than expected. In those fights the U.S. aircraft proved to be too heavy and lacked maneuverability.

During the late 1960s, Col. John Boyd teamed with civilian mathematician Thomas Christie to develop a mathematical model called the Energy-Maneuverability Theory. The model analyzed the air combat maneuverability of aircraft while ignoring its real-world test data.

Meanwhile, the Air Force came up with two fighter programs that appeared to be in conflict with each other. The first was the Fight Experimental Program aimed at developing a big, long-range fighter, which resulted in the F-15. The other program was the Advanced Day Fighter, which later became the Light Weight Fighter Program. Boyd and his model influenced the design of both aircraft. Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard believed aircraft companies should competitively prototype the Light Weight Fighter. Five companies made proposals resulting in two finalists, the General Dynamics YF-16 and the Northrop YF-17.

A number of things helped make the program very significant. First, the Air Force needed to replace its aging F-105s and F-4s. Second, Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger said the Light Weight Fighter Program would not have to compete with the F-15 program. There would be two U.S. Air Force fighters. Finally, some of our NATO allies formed the Multinational Fighter Program Group to search for a common fighter for the alliance. As one source said, this would be “the arms deal of the century.” So, the Air Force changed the name of the Light Weight Fighter to the Air Combat Fighter for the competition. Five companies made proposals with three finalists, the YF-16, YF-17 and the Dassault-Breguet Mirage F1E.

Secretary of the Air Force John McLucas announced the YF-16 won the competition on Jan. 13, 1975. The reasons given were the lower operating costs, the aircraft used the same engine as the F-15, greater range and significantly better maneuver performance than the YF-17. In an odd turn of events, the production F-16s were 25 percent heavier than the YF-16 and the Navy chose the YF-17 for its fighter, which became the McDonnell Douglas FA-18 Hornet.

As for aircraft 78-0001, between January 1983 and November 1989, it flew with the 310th Fighter Squadron here at Luke Air Force Base. Since October 1991, it has resided as the F-16 static aircraft in the Memorial Park at Langley AFB, Va.

 

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Air Force News – October 24, 2014

Hawaii Survival, evasion, resistance and escape instructors at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam conduct combat survival training once a month, 12 months a year, to ensure aircrew members are qualified and better prepared for combat survival. Greenland A biannual resupply mission to sustain the inhabitants of CFS Alert and Eureka Research Station, Nunavut, Canada, was completed...
 
 

People First – October 24, 2014

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story. Air Force...
 
 

Air Force News – October 17, 2014

Germany Airmen with the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein Air Base loaded a C-130J Super Hercules with needed supplies Oct. 7 and launched their first mission to West Africa in support of Operation United Assistance. The team of Airmen flying with the aircraft made stops in Spain, Senegal and Liberia, an area heavily affected by...
 

 

People First – October 17, 2014

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services.  Air Force releases criteria for new service medal Air Force officials released nomination criteria for the new Nuclear...
 
 
Grace Lee

New Knowledge Management Cell helps save Airmen time, money

Grace Lee Staff Sgt. Brian Gosha, 56th Communications Squadron SharePoint owner, briefs Airmen Sept. 30 on what they will learn in the Knowledge Management Cell at Luke Air Force Base. The training educated Luke Airmen on the i...
 
 

vESD new way to fix e-issues

Air Force cyber support is changing. No longer will users call the Enterprise Service Desk and wait for a technician to solve their issue. Starting early November, Air Education and Training Command base computers will have a Virtual Enterprise Service Desk application installed which can be used to fix users’ and Information Assurance Officers’ electronic...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin