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.


 
 

 
Senior Airman
JAMES HENSLEY

F-35 pilot training underway

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Travis Byrom, Lockheed Martin instructor pilot, briefs students in the first F-35 Lightning II training course before the start of class May 5 at Luke Air Force Base. The students are Lt. Col. Sean Ho...
 
 

Everything I need to know about leadership, I learned …

I am sure you’ve heard of, or even read, Robert Fulgham’s best-selling book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Fulgham’s text resonates with many for the simplicity with which he describes “how to be a person.” Leadership in the 21st century Air Force is a much discussed topic, and one can...
 
 

Which one are you?

Have you ever worked for someone you felt was impossible to deal with? How about someone who you simply tolerated? Or have you worked for someone you actually really wanted to work for? What was your work environment like, and what was the attitude of the people among the different types of bosses? Let’s be...
 

 
Senior Airman 
DEVANTE WILLIAMS

Wild Weasels reunite

Senior AirmanDEVANTE WILLIAMS The Wild Weasels gather for a group photo during their reunion May 1 at Luke Air Force Base. The Wild Weasels were formed during the early days of the Vietnam War. Their mission was to seek out and...
 
 

News Briefs May 15, 2015

Leadership Gold Members of the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence are visiitng Luke to present Dr. John Maxwell’s Leadership Gold, which grows leaders and fosters teamwork, at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 2 in the Navy Operational Support Center, Bldg. 300, Room 412. Open to civilians and all ranks of enlisted and officers....
 
 

AF announces senior selects

The following master sergeants have been selected for promotion to senior master sergeant: 61st Fighter Squadron Heather Hefner 56th Maintenance Group Christian Brandon 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Paul Branstetter and Brian Leonard 56th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Andres Vasquez 308th Aircraft Maintenance Unit William Jennings 310th AMU John Taylor 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Tommy C...
 




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