Since Sept. 11, 2001, the F-16 has been a major component of the combat forces committed to the Global War on Terrorism flying thousands of sorties in support of operations Noble Eagle (Homeland Defense), Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom 

General Characteristics 

Primary Function: Multirole fighter 

Contractor: Lockheed Martin Corp. 

Power Plant: F-16C/D: one Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-200/220/229 or General Electric F110-GE-100/129 

Thrust: F-16C/D, 27,000 pounds 

Wingspan: 32 feet, 8 inches (9.8 meters) 

Length: 49 feet, 5 inches (14.8 meters) 

Height: 16 feet (4.8 meters) 

Weight: 19,700 pounds without fuel (8,936 kilograms)

Maximum Takeoff Weight: 37,500 pounds (16,875 kilograms) 

Fuel Capacity: 7,000 pounds internal (3,175 kilograms); typical capacity, 12,000 pounds with two external tanks (5443 kilograms)

Payload: Two 2,000-pound bombs, two AIM-9, two AIM-120 and two 2400-pound external fuel tanks

Speed: 1,500 mph (Mach 2 at altitude) 

Range: More than 2,002 miles ferry range (1,740 nautical miles) 

Ceiling: Above 50,000 feet (15 kilometers) 

Armament: One M-61A1 20mm multibarrel cannon with 500 rounds; external stations can carry up to six air-to-air missiles, conventional air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions and electronic countermeasure pods 

Crew: F-16C, one; F-16D, one or two 

Unit cost: F-16A/B , $14.6 million (fiscal 98 constant dollars); F-16C/D,$18.8 million (fiscal 98 constant dollars) 

Initial operating capability: F-16A, January 1979; F-16C/D Block 25-32, 1981;

F-16C/D Block 40-42, 1989; and F-16C/D Block 50-52, 1994

Inventory: Total force, F-16C/D, 1018

Source: Air Force fact sheet

Senior Editor, News, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Az.