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The F-16 sets the standard of excellence for fighter aircraft. It is easily operable in all types of climatic conditions and operating tempos. F-16 units frequently deploy to distant austere airfields with minimum support packages and quickly begin high-tempo operations that are sustained for days and even weeks.

In both training and evaluation exercises, the F-16 pilots and maintenance teams receive mostly excellent or outstanding ratings in aircraft-related categories. Many records have been set during these exercises.

Since the aircraft began competing in 1981, F-16 teams have participated in dozens of major bombing and gunnery competitions, with a 90 percent win rate. F-16s have consistently won national bombing titles in the countries that host competitions: Greece, Korea, Pakistan, and Turkey. The F-16 is the only aircraft type to have won both of the U.S. Air Force’s major worldwide competitions: Gunsmoke (air-to-ground) and William Tell (air-to-air).

In air-to-air combat, F-16s have compiled a 71-to-0 air-to-air exchange ratio with guns and infrared and radar missiles. F-16s achieved the first three combat kills with an advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM). In the early 1980s, F-16s effectively destroyed several high-value strategic targets and mobile surface-to-air missile sites without a loss.

The F-16 was the workhorse of Operation Desert Storm, flying 13,500 sorties with 250 aircraft. F-16s provided more than 40 percent of U.S. Air Force bomb-dropping sorties and delivered 20,000 tons of bombs during the Gulf War. The aircraft performed a variety of missions, including SCUD Chasing and Killer Scout (fast forward air controller or Fast FAC), and produced the highest mission-capable and sortie rates of any aircraft in theater. During the war, F-16s operated from austere, forward locations to maximize sortie rates and payloads.

Since the Gulf War, F-16 squadrons from several nations have served in peacekeeping operations by enforcing United Nations no-fly restrictions over Iraq and Bosnia. In these operations, the Fighting Falcon has served successfully in a number of mission roles including combat air patrol, close air support, defense suppression, reconnaissance, and fast forward air controller.

Approximately 180 F-16s from seven NATO countries were the workhorses of Operation Allied Force in air campaigns against Serbia in 1999. F-16s flew 7,500 sorties in the full range of multirole operations. Two aerial victories were achieved using the AIM-120 AMRAAM.


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