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.


 
 

 

Luke welcomes Nurse Advice Line

Remember that moment? The moment you thought you had something medically wrong with you but didn’t know exactly what it was? After a few Web searches, you find yourself on WebMD and are questioning whether you have the least worrying of possible diagnoses or the worst — cancer or even death. To help patients save...
 
 
141020-SMSgt-Shelly-Bailey-8x10-DW

Path to inspirational leadership evolving skillset

Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Bailey At some point in our Air Force career we will assume a leadership role. Leadership is an ever-evolving skillset that you will continue to develop throughout the course of your career. The highes...
 
 

Bridges: build, don’t burn

Have you heard the phrase “don’t burn your bridges?” This idiom is used to describe the importance of not ending a relationship on a bad note. In this case, the relationship is your military career. For example, when you build professional relationships you are networking or laying the foundation for the building of a bridge....
 

 
141008-F-HT977-005

Unaccompanied housing to be upgraded

Funds have arrived from Air Education and Training Command for unaccompanied housing to use to take care of Airmen in the dorms, from reconstruction of dorms to fixing a door knob. “With these funds we are able to maintain do...
 
 

News Briefs October 24, 2014

Notice to claimants In accordance with Air Force Instruction 34-511, paragraph 3.1.5, notice is hereby given that Airman 1st Class Wheeler Nichols is deceased. The undersigned has been appointed summary court officer for the purpose of estate settlement in accordance with AFI 34-511. All persons having claims for or against the estate should call Lt....
 
 
Senior Airman Grace Lee

New honorary commanders inducted

Senior Airman Grace Lee Honorary commanders chat with Luke Air Force Base leaders Oct. 17 during social hour in Hangar 431 at Luke Air Force Base prior to their official induction ceremony. The honorary commander program partne...
 




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