The first F-16 was developed in 1974. They wanted a lightweight fighter that wouldn’t cost as much as the fighters they had at the time. They also needed a way to have a bomber without going out and building another bomber which would cost millions more. So they decided to turn the F-16 into a fighter/bomber and it all worked out. Here’s how.
The Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon
They F-16 Fighting Falcon was developed and produced by General Dynamics Corp, until they went bankrupt. Then eventually Lockheed took over the production of the F-16.
The manufacture of the first F-16 began at General Dynamic’s Fort Worth plant in August of 1975. This involved General Dynamics in a major modernization of its huge Fort Worth plant, which had originally been built during World War II.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon, when it first came out, was designed to be in the Air Forces lightweight fighter (LWF) program. The first F-16 was developed as a YF-16 prototype back in 1972. It made it’s first official flight on February 2, 1974. A level speed of Mach 2 at 40,000 ft was attained on March 11, 1974.
The production F-16A differed from the YF-16 in having a 13-inch fuselage extension to hold more fuel and the Westinghouse APG-66 radar. The wing area was increased by 20 square feet and an additional underwing hardpoint was fitted.
The first YF-16 was brought out on December 13, 1973 to make its first test flight at Fort Worth and was air freighted by C-5A to Edwards AFB on January 8, 1974. It was an unintended short hop around the pattern on January 21, 1974 at the hands of the test pilot Phil Oestricher. During high-speed ground tests at Edwards, Oestricher had inadvertently scraped the tailplane on the runway as the nose was raised, and a violent lateral oscillation set in. he decided to take off and regain control in the air. he stayed up for six minutes and landed uneventfully. The scheduled first flight was delayed until a new right stabilizer could be fitted. The first official flight took place February 2, 1974, again with Phil Oestricher. he reached 400 mph and 30,000 ft.
The second YF-16 was developed and was then flown for the first time on March 9, 1974 with test pilot Neil Anderson at the controls. During his flight Anderson belly landed his prototype on the grass in front of the General Dynamics while doing a practice show before Paris. On takeoff, he did what was then an unique maneuver... almost as the wheels left the ground, the gear was cycled, the aircraft put into a 270 degree roll, then immediately placed into a 9g turn. Unfortunately, one of the tires was slightly out of balance, and this combined with the abnormal torque on the gear from being in a roll caused one of the main gear ...