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Comparison of F-16 Fighting Falcon VS F-35 Lightning II

The Lockheed F-35 Lightning II was built as a fifth generation multirole, all-weather, day and night attack jet fighter for the US military in order to replace its old fleet of fighters such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-16 Fighting Flacon. Last time we offered a detailed comparison between the F-35 Lightning II and the F-22 Raptor. Now we are once more back to our readers with another comparison of the 2 of the best fighters of the US military; the F-35 II and the F-16.

While the standard logic dictates that the F-5 is superior to the F-16 in ways of avionics, tactical capabilities, and stealth technologies, still you cannot just count the F-16 fighting Falcon an ordinary one. It still holds to its own merits when made a comparison against the F-35.

For our readers today we bring to you a comparison between the F-16 Fighting Falcon VS F-35 Lightning II.

Background of Both Aircraft:-




F-35 Lightning II:

F-35 Lightning II is the 5th generation attack fighter of the US army and the first of these aircraft was delivered to arm back in 2011 at the Eglin Air Force Base located in Florida. There are currently three of the following variants of the aircraft.

  • F-35A
  • F-35B
  • F-35C

The F-35A comes with CTOL which is the conventional takeoff and landings feature and is designed to serve the Air Force. F-35B comes with the STOL which is the short takeoff and landings and is designed to cater needs of US Marine Corps while the last Variant F-35C is a CV which is Carrier Variant and is designed to fulfill the needs of the US Navy.

The aircraft is also integrated with state of the art avionics that gives it stealth as well as situational awareness making it one of the highly sought out aircraft in the world.

F-16 Fighting Falcon:

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole attack jet fighter with a single seat and single engine configuration. It is highly maneuverable as well as has strong air-to-air and air-to-surface attacking capabilities which are its primary processes. With its increased performance as compared to its low maintenance costs, the F-216 is regarded as one of the highly popular jet fighters in the history of the aviation.

The first original model of the aircraft named F-16A was delivered to the USAF back in 1979 for the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing operating t the Hill Air Force Base located in Utah. Since that first model, many of its other variants and modified versions as per the mission needs have been dished out with the predominant variants being the following.

  • F-16A
  • F-16B
  • F-16C
  • F-16D
  • F-16E
  • F-16F
  • F-16V

The conflict of the Persian Gulf and more importantly the operation titled Desert Storm made use of many F-16s which was more than any other aircraft that was used in the whole conflict history.

The key factor that separates F-3 Lightning Ii form the F-16 Fighting Flacon is the ability of F-16 to have face-to-face combat. F-35 Lightning II’s attacking power lies in its sudden and stealth based attacks.

Dogfight of F-16 VS F-35:-

A report from 2015 about the results of a dogfight between F-16 and F-35 stated that F-16 was superior and in fact, outmatched the F-35. The thing was that at the time of the exercise, the F-35’s pilots were brand new and they were being trained to fly a legacy aircraft. Not only the pilots but also the engine and the technology in the aircraft was one of a kind and the aircraft essentially does not reacts lie other fighter jets of the USAF. Only the next generation of pilots will be able to make use of the full capabilities of the F-35.

One other reason for the poor results of F-35 against F-16 in a dogfight was that F0-16 is built for wars while F-35 is not. The F-35 is built with stealth in mind and aims to locate and attack its targets long before seeing them. According to the Mike Hostage, U.S. Air Force General said, “The F-35 pilot who engaged the F-35 in a dogfight against F-16 is either very unlucky or he has made a mistake.”

As per the military experts, the era of dogfighting is soon coming to an end with the fights being fought in the air with long-range and advanced technologies inside of an aircraft. In that regard, F-35 Lightning II is in fact far superior when compared to F-16.

Speed:-

Majority of the F-16 Fighting Falcons in service are powered by a General Electric’s F110-GE-129 engine and is one of the safest single engine powerplants for the aircraft in USAF’s history. It has nearly 81 percent of the similar parts with the F110-GE-100. It is 181.9 inches in length with a diameter of 46.5 inches. The engine gives the F-16a top speed of 1500 mph which is about 300 mph faster when compared to the F-35.

As there are 3 variants of the F-35, they each need to rely on the three variants of the Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 engines with the specs of the engines being nearly same. The Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 is a derivative of the F-22 Raptor’s engine; F119-PW-100. In order to cut down the sustainment costs, the F-135 has been integrated with health monitoring and support for network logistics. With these specs, the engine gives the F-35 a top speed of 1200 mph.

In terms of speed, F-16 Fighting Flacon is clearly far superior to the F-35.

Noise:-

Noise has always been a factor when it comes to jet fighters and the F-35 has certainly taken the place of being the noisiest of all the jet fighter in USAF’s history.  In fact, the F-35 is so loud that they have been issued an ordered by the EPA for taking into account the effects of those jet noises on the residential areas surrounding the F-35 bases.

According to final results, the noise of an approaching F-35 is nearly 4 times louder when compared with the F-16 to a human ear.

Size Comparison:-

 

Except for the overall height F-35, Lightning II has slightly higher sizing specs when compared with the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

F-35 Lightning II F-16 Fighting Falcon
Wingspan 35 feet (10.7 meters) 32 feet, 8 inches (9.8 meters)
Length 50.5 feet (15.7 meters) 49 feet, 5 inches (14.8 meters)
Height 14.2 feet (4.38 meters) 16 feet (4.8 meters)

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