If the agile little fighter has any shortcomings, it’s that the American F-16’s radar has fallen out of date, and that the type was never designed to carry a great deal of fuel, limiting its combat radius to just 340 miles on internal stores. The Pentagon should eventually consider reasonable measures to keep that fleet up to date, notably the incorporation of APG-83 AESA radars and the adoption of conformal fuel tanks. These issues aside, the F-16 has more than earned its current popular nickname among pilot as “the Viper,” and will continue to occupy a prominent role in military aviation across the globe for decades to come.
Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring. (This first appeared several years ago.)