F-16 test aircraft is retired
11 January 2001http://defence-data.com/storypic/aftif16.jpg [not image]
F-16 serial number 75-0750 has completed a distinguished career as an advanced technology test aircraft for more than 22 years. It is best known for its service as the Advanced Fighter Technology Integration (AFTI)/F-16 technology demonstrator since the early 1980s.
Aircraft 750 flew its final flight on Jan. 9, 2001 from its birthplace in Fort Worth, Texas, to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where it will be retired and placed in the Air Force Museum there.
"The AFTI/F-16 has been an excellent platform because of the F-16's basic modern systems, the relative ease of incorporating advanced technologies and the F-16's low cost of operation and maintenance," said Don Swihart, AFTI Programme Manager at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton. "The AFTI/ F-16 has been a real workhorse in proving advanced fighter technologies, and it is fitting that this aircraft have its final resting place in the Air Force Museum."
Aircraft 750 was originally built as an F-16A, the sixth A model and seventh of eight aircraft in the F-16 Full-Scale Development program. It first flew and was delivered to the US Air Force in April 1978. Since then the aircraft has been modified extensively many times and participated in 10 flight test programmes.
The aircraft's last achievement was the very successful Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Subsystems Technology demonstration in Fort Worth during October-November 2000. The aircraft was modified with an all-electric flight control system with electrostatic actuators and a 270-VDC switched reluctance electric power system. It was the first aircraft to fly with an all-electric flight control system, adding to its many aviation firsts. Government studies show the combination of technologies will reduce weight, improve reliability and maintainability, increase survivability, and trim costs compared to traditional hydraulic actuator systems.
During its 22-plus year career, the aircraft accumulated 756 flights and 1,446 flight hours. Much of the time the aircraft was undergoing extensive modifications at the Fort Worth plant. This unique aircraft was flown by more than 23 test pilots from Lockheed Martin (and predecessors), US Air Force, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, US Marine Corps and the Swedish Air Force. Customers have included the US Air Force (various agencies and commands), US Navy, US Army, NASA, Swedish Air Force and DoD's Joint Strike Fighter program.
Technologies that have transitioned into F-16 production include digital flight controls, multifunction displays, dual multiplex bus avionics architecture, wide-angle head-up display, up-front controls, single-switch mission reconfiguration, dorsal avionics compartment, digital data link, digital terrain system, automatic terrain following and system-wide integrity management, night vision system (night vision goggles and compatible cockpit lighting), improved takeoff and landing control laws, and voice annunciation. Items going into the F-16 in the near term include helmet-mounted cueing of weapons and sensors, digital colour map display, internalised FLIR targeting system, and in-flight route planning.
Advanced technologies demonstrated that have promise for the next generation of fighters or future incorporation on current fighters include: voice interaction, auto ground collision avoidance, head-steered FLIR imaging, covert radar altimeter, electric flight control actuation, and cooperative engagement capability (separated target sensor and shooter).
REF XQQAS XQQAR