After the Cold War abruptly ended, the era of mass-produced combat aircraft seemed to end as well. Only 195 F-22s were built, and just 21 B-2s. Compare this to the F-16 Fighting Falcon, of which over 4,500 have been built and are currently flying with more than 20 international militaries. The aircraft’s origins are written in blood. In the wake of air-to-air combat shortcomings over the skies of Vietnam, certain key figures saw the obvious problem of repurposing interceptors, too much reliance on long range missiles, and excessively multi-rolling platforms. These post-war concerns gave birth to the Lightweight Fighter Program (LWF), of which General Dynamics’ YF-16 was the Air Force’s winner. Along with the F-15, the Fighting Falcon began replacing the USAF’s aging fleet of F-4s and F-105 fighter-bombers, and its upgrades in maneuverability and capability was seen by all. It has seen combat in Gulf War One, the Balkans, Gulf War Two, Afghanistan, Libya and many more locations flying with international partners. Some wavetop examples are Israeli F-16s claiming 44 aerial victories during the 1982 Lebanon War and Egyptian F-16s striking ISIS targets in Syria.
The F-16C/D upgrade came in the 1980s. Improved capabilities such as cockpit avionics, radar, and enhanced beyond visual range (BVR) missiles were added to the A model’s aging ability. Born as a lightweight, air-superiority fighter, the Fighting Falcon has long since served in additional roles; proof of the small airframe’s versatility. USAF squadrons use it for air-to-air, air-to-ground, and electronic attack roles. It is also the aircraft flown by the Thunderbirds demonstration team, having upgraded from F-16As in 1992.
For fans of pop culture history, one may wonder why Air Force personnel almost exclusively refer to the F-16 as the “Viper.” In addition to its generally mean, snake-like look, the F-16s original debut occurred during the run of a popular TV show, Battlestar Galactica, where spaceships known as Colonial Viper Starfighters were flown; some say the F-16 bares a vague resemblance. - A.T. ROBERTS
These tags were cut from a belly panel off an F-16C/D at the same as the most recent F-14 tags - among other tags early on in JE land. They are the last of the "big hole" tags that were cut in the initial batch. The panel had an orange stripe that ran the width of the jet and these tags are offered in Grey and Grey/Orange. They are approximately .125" thick and come with a polished edge. The artwork (by Planeform) is printed to give these tags a nice contrast between the grey paint and tag art. Accompanying these are a card by BVR with an F-16C that jumps off the page.
Only 135 of these were cut in that initial batch and all of them are up for grabs. There are only a few Grey/Orange available.
Note: If you're more of a "Viper" fan and like our triangular shaped fighter tags, the rest of this material was cut in 2023 in the JE warehouse. These Viper tags are available for sale on the homepage as "F-16C/D Viper Fuselage Tags" and are offered in more variants and colors.
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