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 early block F-16C/D scrap fuselage panels that were purchased from a CA boneyard. We like using traingles for Fighter tags and the Viper certainly qualifies. They were cut in house on the JE waterjet and are offered in 9 variants: Light Grey, Grey, Gunship Grey, Blue, Grey/Orange, Grey/Green, Tri-Color, WARNING, and NO STEP.
The Light Grey and Blue tags were cut from an upper fuselage panel that was fitted to a Blue Camouflage aircraft. These are not bright blue - the blueish hues are subtle but certainly present and different from the other grey tags. These tags are laser etched. The Light Grey tags are very light, are the most limited solid color tags (blue is a close second), and come with printed art. Some of them have blue paint overspray on them.
The Gunship Grey tags were cut from an identical panel as the Blue/Light Grey tags but featured the more standard paint scheme coloring. These tags are the exact same color as the F-15E tags we released earlier this year. These tags are laser etched and are also limited in availability.
The Grey, Grey/Orange, Grey/Green, and Tri-Color tags were cut from belly panels that had an orange stripe that ran the width of the jet. The green paint color on these tags is primer. These tags feature laser etched art. Please note that some tags feature more/less color spreads. The multi-colored tags are very limited (<10 of most variants).
The WARNING tags are stenciled tags that feature elements of the stenciled warning on the side of the jet near the cockpit. The text reads "THIS AIRCRAFT CONTAINS A CANOPY REMOVER CONTAINING AN EXPLOSIVE CHARGE." These tags are laser etched and many have multiple layers of material/rivets/etc.
The NO STEP tags (the most limited variant) were cut from various panels from this run. There are some that are Blue and some that are Gunship Grey. They feature portions of NO STEP stencils and come with laser etched art.
Most tags are approximately .125" thick. Accompanying these are a card by BVR with an F-16C that jumps off the page. Being a "Viper" tag, these cards naturally have a subtle snake scale pattern and the background is colored to represent the more modern Gunship Grey paint scheme of the F-16.
We didn't hold anything back and cut up all the C/D material we have for these. Only 295 were made and many are super limited in number.
Note: If you're more of a "Fighting Falcon" fan and like our dog tag shaped tags, we are offering an additional 135 F-16C/D Fighting Falcon tags that were cut in the initial batch of JE tags long ago. These tags are available on the homepage.
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