Advanced Viper’s Maiden Flight

Lockheed Martin’s new advanced F-16V Viper took to the skies on its initial flight from the company’s production facilities at Fort Worth, Texas, Oct. 16, the company announced. “This flight marks a historic milestone in the evolution of the F-16,” said Rod McLean, company F-16/F-22 integrated fighter group vice president, in a release. “The new F-16V configuration includes numerous enhancements designed to keep the F-16 at the forefront of international security … as the world’s foremost combat-proven fourth generation fighter aircraft,” he added. The sortie also marked the first flight of an F-16 equipped with Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. In addition to the AESA radar, the F-16V configuration adds modern mission computing and high capacity interface, a new center–cockpit display, and other advanced features. F-16V is available both as a new-build fighter, and as a retrofit to existing F-16s. Edwards AFB, Calif., is currently testing the APG-83 AESA to support Taiwan’s ongoing F-16 upgrade program.