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F-16i Sufa

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Israel

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Date Deployed: February 19, 2004
F-16i Sufa (Storm) - IAF 105 Squadron The Scorpion 
Manufacturer: General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin
Model from Hasegawa of Japan Kit # 06105 F-16B Kit with IsraCast Resin Kit # 48-015 F-16i "Sufa" Conversion Kit and Eagle Strike Production Decal # 48152    Built on 01-07-2006        1/48 scale

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   The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multi-role jet fighter aircraft developed by General Dynamics in the United States. Designed as a lightweight fighter, it evolved into a successful multi-role aircraft. The Falcon's versatility is a paramount reason it was a success on the export market, serving 24 countries. The F-16 is the largest and probably most significant current Western fighter program, with over 4,000 aircraft built since production started in 1976. Though no longer produced for the United States Air Force, it is still produced for export.

The Fighting Falcon is regarded as a superb dogfighter, with innovations including a frameless canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while under high g-forces, and reclined seat to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot. It was also the first fighter aircraft to be deliberately built to sustain 9g turns. Although the F-16's official name is "Fighting Falcon", it is known to its pilots as the "Viper", after the Battlestar Galactica starfighter.

In 1993 General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation, which became part of Lockheed Martin after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta.

Due to their ubiquity, the F-16s have participated in numerous conflicts, most of them in the Middle East.

In 1981, eight Israeli F-16s participated in a raid that destroyed Osiraq, an Iraqi nuclear reactor near Baghdad. During the same year, the Israeli Air Force obtained the first air-to-air "kills" for the entire F-16 series, shooting down a Syrian Mi-8 helicopter and a MiG-21 jet. The following year, during Operation Peace for Galilee (Lebanon War) Israeli F-16s engaged Syrian aircraft successfully on numerous occasions. F-16s were also used afterwards in their ground-attack role for strikes against targets in Lebanon.

During the Soviet-Afghan war, Pakistan Air Force F-16s shot down at least 10 Afghan and Soviet ground attack and transport aircraft (1986-1988). The same border clash saw the F-16's first unusual dog-fighting skills performed by the Pakistan Air Force.

In Operation Desert Storm of 1991, 249 USAF F-16s flew over 13,000 sorties in strikes against Iraq, the most of any Coalition aircraft, with five lost in combat, three to surface-to-air missiles (SAM), one to a premature bomb detonation, and one to an engine fire. F-16s returned to Iraq in force in 1998 as part of the Operation Desert Fox bombing campaign and again in the 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom invasion, flying ground support and SEAD missions.

F-16s were also employed by NATO during Bosnian peacekeeping operations in 1994-95 (one was lost to a SAM, resulting in the evasion and recovery of Captain Scott O'Grady), in the 1999 Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia (during which one was lost to ground fire), and by the United States in Afghanistan since 2001. Two air-to-air victories were scored by USAF F-16s in Operation Southern Watch,[4] four in Bosnia, and two in Operation Allied Force (one by a Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 which shot down a Serb MiG-29 with an AMRAAM). F-16s would also participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. One F-16 crashed in June 2003 over Iraq due to fuel starvation.

On June 7, 2006, F-16s carried out two air-strikes which killed Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, using two 500 lb bombs to destroy the al-Qaeda safehouse he was in.

Israeli F-16s were believed to have participated in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, since the aircraft is known to be the bomber workhorse of the Israel Defense Forces. The exact extent of the F-16's role in that conflict was not known publicly as of late July 2006 but was widely believed to be extensive. An IDF F-16I reportedly crashed on July 19 when one of its tires burst as it took off for Lebanon from an air base in the Negev. The pilots ejected safely and there were no casualties on the ground.

On November 27, 2006, F-16s carried out a ground support mission when one went down northwest of Baghdad. Militant groups claimed that they downed the aircraft using 2 SA-7 missiles when it was flying at very low altitude; The pilot was reported Killed In Action

F-16I
Block 50/52 Plus for Israeli Defense Force - Air Force, with approximately 50% Israeli avionics replacing that of American firms (Such as Israeli Aerial Towed Decoy replacing the ALE-50). The addition of Israeli-built autonomous aerial combat maneuvering instrumentation systems enables the training exercises to be conducted without the dependence on the ground instrumentation systems, and the helmet-mounted sight is also standard equipment. The F-16I also has the IAI-built removable conformal fuel tanks added. The F-16I is called Sufa (Storm) by the IDF/AF. The aircraft use the F100-PW-229 which offers commonality with the IDF/AF's F-15Is. Israel issued a requirement in September 1997 and selected the F-16 in preference to the F-15 in July 1999. An initial "Peace Marble V" contract was signed on 14 January 2000 with a follow on contract signed on 19 December 2001 for a total of 102. The first flight of the F-16I occurred on 23 December 2003, followed by the first delivery to the IDF/AF on 19 February 2004. 

 

 

          

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