New F-16s Are Still Fourth Gen

The two newest F-16 models, which incorporate some of the technologies and lessons learned from the F/A-22 and F-35 programs, are the Block 60 model for the United Arab Emirates and the advanced Block 50/52. Lockheed Martin officials say these models represent the state of the art in fourth-generation fighters. “We have essentially re-invented the F-16 three times,” Ralph Heath, VP for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, commented. There’s no way to make an F-16 into an F-35, though, because very low observeability has to be designed into an aircraft at the outset. If the F-16 could have been reworked to make it comparable to the F-35, “we would have,” he said.