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F-16 question

Joined: May 27th, 2013, 7:52 am

October 13th, 2017, 10:46 am #1

What is the point of having FAST packs on back of F-16 and still having additional tanks on inner stations??!!
F-16 still has only 2 stations for air to ground weapons, only F-16I Sufa in one picture with GBU-38 under belly.

https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/u ... akeoff.jpg

On the other side F-16XL was dropped in spite having the increased fuel capacity by 82%.
The F-16XL could carry twice the ordnance of the F-16 and deliver it 40% farther. The enlarged wing allowed a total of 27 hardpoints:
16 wing stations of capacity 750 lb (340 kg) each
4 semi-recessed AIM-120 AMRAAM stations under fuselage
2 wingtip stations
1 centerline station
2 wing "heavy/wet" stations
2 chin LANTIRN stations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Dynamics_F-16XL

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Joined: February 13th, 2014, 9:02 am

October 13th, 2017, 11:18 am #2

As I understand it, if you need long range or very long time on station, and your tanker forces are not very prevalent, FAST and drop tanks would probably be a good solution. If in a peer to peer war, you have tanker support or targets are in medium range, this probably would change and either FAST or the drop tanks can be left out. The USAF has not adopted the FAST for various reasons like the prevalent tanker support. But who knows, with the pacific as an operating theater, FAST tanks may start to appear in USAF planes.

As to F16XL, it was the competition to the F15E. The F-15E won and thus the F16XL was dropped. In the 1980's or cold war years, the USAF was the only major airforce that required the operational requirements for F-15E or F16XL type aircraft. So, the F16XL went to storage and NASA had a short stint using them later for research.

I guess you can resurrect the F16XL, but if you really need that range and storage requirement, it would probably be faster to just buy into the F15E.

The F16XL was an interesting design though. Just like the F-20, F23 and other aircraft of that nature, interesting to speculate.

Hope to have helped
Last edited by Pzkw3 on October 13th, 2017, 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: May 27th, 2013, 7:52 am

October 13th, 2017, 12:20 pm #3

What is the point of having FAST packs on back of F-16 and still having additional tanks on inner stations??!!
F-16 still has only 2 stations for air to ground weapons, only F-16I Sufa in one picture with GBU-38 under belly.

https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/u ... akeoff.jpg

On the other side F-16XL was dropped in spite having the increased fuel capacity by 82%.
The F-16XL could carry twice the ordnance of the F-16 and deliver it 40% farther. The enlarged wing allowed a total of 27 hardpoints:
16 wing stations of capacity 750 lb (340 kg) each
4 semi-recessed AIM-120 AMRAAM stations under fuselage
2 wingtip stations
1 centerline station
2 wing "heavy/wet" stations
2 chin LANTIRN stations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Dynamics_F-16XL
Yes, but it still has only 2 hardpoints for air to ground weapons. Inner hardpoints are wet only.
With FAST they have more fuel so inner hardpoints could be used for air to ground weapons, but they don't.
Don't see it as some efficient solution, but as I wrote before, US military expresses itself as a highly inefficient institution.
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Joined: February 13th, 2014, 9:02 am

October 13th, 2017, 3:50 pm #4

What is the point of having FAST packs on back of F-16 and still having additional tanks on inner stations??!!
F-16 still has only 2 stations for air to ground weapons, only F-16I Sufa in one picture with GBU-38 under belly.

https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/u ... akeoff.jpg

On the other side F-16XL was dropped in spite having the increased fuel capacity by 82%.
The F-16XL could carry twice the ordnance of the F-16 and deliver it 40% farther. The enlarged wing allowed a total of 27 hardpoints:
16 wing stations of capacity 750 lb (340 kg) each
4 semi-recessed AIM-120 AMRAAM stations under fuselage
2 wingtip stations
1 centerline station
2 wing "heavy/wet" stations
2 chin LANTIRN stations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Dynamics_F-16XL
Very true on two stations only for F-16! (It is actually worst at the early versions of the F-16 where station 2 and 8 do not exist yet) However, please understand that the USAF paradigm at the time the F-16 was developed still have the old model of bombers and fighters. (To be fair it is still like that today, but not strictly like the Vietnam or WW2 paradigms)

If you look at the F-16's old function, it was first conceived as a lighter and cheaper aircraft partner to the F-15. Bombers were suppose to do the primary bombing role. The F-16 doing tactical work and lighter partner to the F-15.

However even at the start of acceptance of the F-16, the multi-role concept started to become prominent. So the F-16 started to evolve and become heavier and more complex and expensive. This is not a bad thing for the aircraft but more of a reflection of the evolution of airpower concepts and operational realities.

Right now, the aircraft is nowhere near the initial concept. The latest F-16 models are truly multi-role aircraft. However to the USAF, the definition of multi-role does not seem to include bomber. For that the USAF will use the B-2, B1 and B-52, F15E as bombers. (F111 F117 in the old days) The F-16 is more like a tactical aircraft where the use of multiple ejector racks and specific roles make the 2 stations enough for the USAF. If you need more bombs, use the bombers.

However, the majority of other countries do not have a bomber force. Therefore the F-16 is used for this role for the countries that use the F-16. For this, having more stations for ordinance makes sense. FAST packs makes sense.

I think the F-16 is about at the last stage of the development. Just like the P-40 in WW2, it is used in all theaters of war as both fighter and bomber. However, it is now 1945, still useful, but the P51, P-47 and P-38 has now become the new face of propeller fighter aircraft. The planes can drop bombs, or intercept enemy aircraft. (If you really want bombing, you have the B designated aircraft like B-25, B17, B-24, B-26... etc)

It is actually the navy that has abandoned the bomber/attack aircraft concept before the USAF. A6, A7 and A4 are the last of the dedicated bomber/attack aircraft. Future aircraft of the navy will ahve the F/A designations.

Can't wait for the developing ideas of the future aircraft!
Last edited by Pzkw3 on October 13th, 2017, 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: March 31st, 2010, 8:43 pm

October 13th, 2017, 3:51 pm #5

What is the point of having FAST packs on back of F-16 and still having additional tanks on inner stations??!!
F-16 still has only 2 stations for air to ground weapons, only F-16I Sufa in one picture with GBU-38 under belly.

https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/u ... akeoff.jpg

On the other side F-16XL was dropped in spite having the increased fuel capacity by 82%.
The F-16XL could carry twice the ordnance of the F-16 and deliver it 40% farther. The enlarged wing allowed a total of 27 hardpoints:
16 wing stations of capacity 750 lb (340 kg) each
4 semi-recessed AIM-120 AMRAAM stations under fuselage
2 wingtip stations
1 centerline station
2 wing "heavy/wet" stations
2 chin LANTIRN stations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Dynamics_F-16XL


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Joined: October 16th, 2003, 11:49 pm

October 13th, 2017, 5:01 pm #6

What is the point of having FAST packs on back of F-16 and still having additional tanks on inner stations??!!
F-16 still has only 2 stations for air to ground weapons, only F-16I Sufa in one picture with GBU-38 under belly.

https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/u ... akeoff.jpg

On the other side F-16XL was dropped in spite having the increased fuel capacity by 82%.
The F-16XL could carry twice the ordnance of the F-16 and deliver it 40% farther. The enlarged wing allowed a total of 27 hardpoints:
16 wing stations of capacity 750 lb (340 kg) each
4 semi-recessed AIM-120 AMRAAM stations under fuselage
2 wingtip stations
1 centerline station
2 wing "heavy/wet" stations
2 chin LANTIRN stations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Dynamics_F-16XL
Carying 4 big A-G bombs poses a big penalty on range, even with CFT, so most missions do not require removal of the 2 inner fuel tank.
F16 has very small internal amound of fuel, CFT solves this problem and extends the range. For HAF, in order to reach Cyprus and come back F16 needed 2 huge 600gal fuel tanks that make flying pretty hard. With 2 370 tanks+ CFT now these missions are more easy.

Last edited by wertGR on October 13th, 2017, 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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