First off, let me start by saying, I’m not trying to start a petition for F-16, nor am I inclined to do so because in the world of flight sim developers, all the emotion and excitement that I or some other virtual pilot might feel at the prospect of a new product, in this case a desired module, has to be balanced against the developer’s bottom line, which has to be part of any equation they may postulate, since they have to assume the risk involved.Then there are developmental considerations in addition to cost as well. Is it ‘do-able?’ How hard will it be? how long will it take ,and how many will we sell when we get there? All legitimate concerns to be sure. So I’m not going to add to any pressure devs might get from fans on the ‘Wish List’.Now I know what you’re thinking; …”if it’s not a petition, then what the hell is it? The simple answer is , it’s a position rather than petition. if it were a petition, I’d be asking you to sign something or ‘like’ something and I’m not doing that. What I’m offering is my opinion as to why, the module should be developed. Such articles can be a method of finding out what people want through feedback I suppose, but mostly, I just like to write about this stuff. But since the ‘F-16 Petition for DCS’ has once again appeared on Facebook last week or other, I figured I’d see what I could come up with, without sticking my neck out too much.
“...BMS Falcon is out there, which precludes the need for DCS: F-16C “…
What I am doing is attempting to make case for this aircraft to be considered by someone, whether Eagle Dynamics or a 3rd party developer as a worthy addition to the “Flying Legends Collection”, and before anyone brings it up(and I know they will), there’s already BMS Falcon and yes I know; ..”they have a dynamic campaign”or ”It’s already been done…blah,blah, blah...on and on. I have heard that argument countless times and while there are proponents in the DCS Community fore a more ‘dynamic campaign, the notion that since BMS Falcon, is out there, precludes the need for, DCS:F-16C. I say, to hell with that. Still others will argue that the Viper doesn’t have ‘undefeated air to air record say , compared to an F-15C Eagle and that part would be true, some F-16s have been lost in air to air engagements, but so what? Many Mustangs were lost during ww2. Do any doubt it’s legendary status? Nope. Besides, the F-15C, does currently enjoy an undefeated status to date, it’s still not really part of the “Collection”, so there is already a Modern USAF high fidelity, clickable cockpit, fighter deficit, save A-10C, which we all know is an attack fighter. Then there’s A/G radar modeling that until only recently have the possibilities become real.
Having said all that, let’s take minute examine this remarkable airplane. Most of us are familiar with most general history of the General Dynamics F-16 and that it’s selection, was the result of fly-off completion between General Dynamics in Fort Worth, TX and Northrop Aircraft in Hawthorne, CA for the U.S. Air Force’s Lightweight Fighter competition, and that the General Dynamics entry won the day, and the rest is history. Well, ok. let’s take a look at that history. It’s combat history is a good place to start. Most people, Americans mostly, believe the Viper’s first taste of combat was during Operation Desert Storm, where Coalition , aircrews with their respective combat aircraft, including F-16s were employed with great effect against Saddam’s forces, but, that’s not quite the way it worked out. That particular distinction goes to the IAF (Israeli) in the very early eighties.
On June 7, 1981, a flight of eight F-16As of the IAF (Zroa HaAvir VeHahalal), with an escort of six F-15As, made short work of Saddam’s nuclear reactor at Osirik during Operation Opera, returning to their respective bases unscathed, and in 1982, IAF F-16s accounted for 44 air to air kills in the skies over Lebanon. During the Soviet Afghanistan Conflict, Pakistani F-16s engaged and shot down at least eight unidentified ‘intruders.’ Not bad for a little guy. During the first Gulf War, U.S.F-16s played a very limited role, in due in large part the fact F-4G Wild Weasles, had the SEAD Mission tied up and both U.S. and Saudi air forces were operating F-15s at the ‘high end’ and they along with Navy and Marine F/A-18s accounted for the majority of recorded kills and got a fair amount of grief from the ‘Eagle Drivers’. In fact the first USAF F-16 air to air victory did not occur until 27 December 1992, during enforcement of the ‘No Fly Zone” over Iraq against a Mig-25 Foxbat , and was also the first operation use of the AIN-120 Amraam missile. Since then, however the “Viper” has earned it’s keep, flying sortie after sortie, with excellent overall mission reliability
” While the F-4G was a capable platform the Phantom ll, was get a little long of tooth…”
Nevertheless, F-16″Viper” and their crews, have racked up an enormous number of sorties, in actions over Kosovo, Afghanistan, by NATO forces and USAF over Iraq in Operation Enduring Freedom, flying the SEAD mission at last, and doing so ably. While the F-4G was a capable platform, Phantom ll , was getting a little long of tooth, and F-4Es were withdrawn from front-line service, so the type’s days were numbered in any case. One of the many advantages that the F-16 series had over the F-4 was it’s smokeless Pratt & Whitney F-100 turbofan engine, which despite being tempermental and sometimes unreliable, still represented quite a leap in engine power and efficiency, and even though subsequent F-16 variants were and pretty much continue to be powered by the General Electric F-110 powerplant, unlike the Phantom which painted a smoky trail across the sky when in ‘military power’, settings, the smaller more agile Viper makes a smaller , harder to hit target than it’s heavier brethren. As a result the Fighting Falcon, has come into it’s own, as an extremely competent multi-mission weapon platform and while it’s viewed as a legacy system, it’s still a very potent aircraft with more than a few good years left. Some proponents argue that with the rising cost of 5th generation combat aircraft development, long lead times and a ‘fighter gap’ looming for both USAF and the Navy, maybe 4.5th generation combat aircraft, may be the way to go at least as a stop-gap measure. Not an unreasonable proposal, and worthy of consideration.
One thing I am certain of , is that the F-16C Fighting Falcon or “Viper”, ‘brainchild’ of Major John Boyd, and Thomas P. Christie’s Energy Manueverability Theory along with his Fighter Mafia, a near-renegade bunch of air force officers and civilians, visionaries all, deserves to accorded the title; ‘Flying Legend’ and should be added to the Fighter Collection. Just a suggestion. Then, we can all have one..