US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon Freedom Defender USAF Aviation Challenge Coin

This distinctive Challenge Coin commemorates the dedicated and courageous service of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The General Dynamics (GD) F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by GD for the USAF. Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,500 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976. Although no longer being purchased by the USAF, improved versions are still being built for export customers. In 1993, GD sold its aircraft manufacturing business to Lockheed Martin.

The Fighting Falcon has key features including a frameless bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while maneuvering, a seat reclined 30 degrees to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot, and the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire flight control system which helps to make it a nimble aircraft. The F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcan cannon and 11 locations for mounting weapons and other mission equipment. The F-16's official name is "Fighting Falcon", but "Viper" is commonly used by its pilots and crews, due to a perceived resemblance to a viper snake as well as the Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper starfighter.

In addition to active
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