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Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon
Flying the flag
Perhaps the best known F-16s are those of the U.S. Air Force's Thunderbirds team. The F-16 gives them excellent agility matched with exceptional speed.
The F-16 pilot reclines at 30 degrees and flies the fighter using a pressure-sensitive side-stick with his right hand.
Israel has been using the Fighting Falcon since the early 1980s. The aircraft's combat debut came with the destruction of Iraq's Osirak nuclear facility in 1981. Over Lebanon in 1982, Israeli F-16s shot down 44 Syrian M/Gs without loss.
Fighter and bomber
Originally conceived as a lightweight fighter, the F-16 emerged as a warplane capable of lifting just about every ground attack store available.
Falcons can launch the latest AMRAAM air-to-air missile. Using this weapon, a U.S. Air Force F-16 shot down a MiG-25 over Iraq.
FACTS AND FIGURES
▶ Lockheed acquired Genera! Dynamics, creator of the F-16, in March 1993.
▶ The company says it can build a new F-16 today for $20 million, less than half the price of an F-15E Strike Eagle.
▶ The F-16 ejection seat works safely at any speed and altitude.
▶ More than 4,000 F-16s serve in the U.S., NATO, Asia and Latin America.
▶ A delta-winged test version, the F-16XL, has wing area increased by 120 percent.
▶ F-16 pilots flew 13,500 combat sorties in Operation Desert Storm, more than any other aircraft.
▶ Anglo-French single-seat attack aircraft
▶ Gulf War veteran
One of the early successes of Anglo-French collaboration, the Jaguar fighter-bomber has also been the mainstay of the RAF's first-line squadrons over the last three decades. With improved weapons and avionics, it has developed into a useful tactical ground-attack and reconnaissance aircraft, despite its performance being somewhat modest compared with some of its contemporaries.
It was thought that the Jaguar was in the twilight of its career when both French and RAF Jaguars were sent to the Gulf to participate in Operation Desert Storm. Since then a new RAF version, the GR.Mk 1B, has entered service equipped with the TIALD imaging and laser pod.
The RAF's feline mud-mover
Throwing a fast fighter- bomber through mountains, at night, without radar, alone and unaided by a navigator may seem a recipe for disaster - but that is what RAF Jaguar pilots do on a regular basis without batting an eye. They know that the Jaguar, with 20-plus years of service behind it, is a tried and tested weapon that won't let them down.
When it came to a real war situation in the Gulf in 1991, the Jaguar showed that it still has teeth and is able to fly missions as well as aircraft that are considerably younger.
A Franco/British project, the result of collaboration between the British Aircraft Corporation (now British Aerospace) and Dassault-Breguet, (the SEPECAT Jaguar was first Mown on September 8, 1968, as a single-seat attack aircraft with limited all-weather capability. It was intended to serve both the Armée de l'Air and the RAF; the French Jaguar A entered service first, in May 1972.