General Dynamics F-16I Fighting Falcon

Last revised June 15, 2020


In July of 1999, Israel announced that it would like to order 50 two-seat multi-role F-16Is, the order being placed under the terms of the Peace Marble V FMS program. This announcement was a disappointment to Boeing, since they hoped to sell Israel more F-15Is.

An initial Peace Marble V contract was signed on January 14, 2000, with a follow-on contract signed on Dec 19, 2001 for a total procurement of 102 aircraft. This made the F-16I order the largest Israeli F-16 order yet. Initial deliveries were scheduled to begin in 2004 and should take about three years to complete. This program increased the total number of IDF/AF F-16 aircraft to 362, giving the IDF/AF the largest fleet of F-16s outside the USA.

The F-16I for Israel is based on current Block 50/52 production aircraft and is equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-68(V)X fire control radar. The IDF/AF has selected the F-16I in a two-seat configuration only, with the front cockpit being for the pilot and the rear cockpit for the weapons system operator. The F16I is fitted with a dorsal avionics compartment. The large dorsal compartment extends from the rear of the cockpit to the fin and houses additional avionics systems, chaff and flare dispensers and the aircraft’s in-flight refuelling receptacle. The F-16I is fitted with a pair of removable conformal fuel tanks mounted on both sides of the upper fuselage. These tanks have onaly a small effect on the aircraft's agility, and they free up the two underwing inner pylons for weapons carriage. The F-16I is also fitted with a dorsal avionics compartment, which extends from the rear of the cockpit to the fin, and carries additional avionics systems, chaff and flare dispensers, as well as the aircraft's inflight refuelling receptacle. The F-16I contract will also include Lockeed Martin LANTIRN navigation and targeting pods.

The planes will also be provided with Israeli-built equipment to make them compatible with the Raytheon Python 5 AAM and the Popeye 2 ASM. Approximately 50 percent of the avionics are Israeli-developed. Examples are the Israeli Aerial Towed Decoy replacing the ALE-50 and autonomous aerial combat maneuvering instrumentation, which enables training exercises to be conducted without dependence on ground instrumentation. Elbit Systems produced the aircraft's helmet-mounted heads-up display (HUD), mission and presentation computers, and digital map display. Furthermore, the F-16I can carry the Rafael Python 5 infrared-guided air-to-air missile and often uses Isreael Aircraft Industries (IAI)'s removable conformal fuel tanks (CFT) for extended range.

Initially, the Israeli government did not specify whether the F-16I would be powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 or the General Electric F110-GE-129 engines. In mid 1999, Israel announced that it had selected the Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-229 turbofan as the engine for its 50 F-16Is. This offers commonality with the IDF/AFs F-15I.

The first F-16I made its maiden flight on December 23, 2003 at the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The first IDF/AF F-16I was officially handed over to the IDF/AF at Ft Worth, TX Nov 14, 2003. The F-16I is known as the Sufa (Storm) in IDF/AF service. The first unit to operate the F-16I was the Negev Squadron, which was reformed at Ramon on July 27, 2003 to operate the Suefa. The next unit to reequip with the Suefa was the Orange Tail Knights Squadron, also at Ramon, followed by the Bat Squadron. Deliveries were completed at a rate of about 2 a month over the next four years, with the final delivery taking place in 2009.

IDF/AF Sufa were briefly grounded on March 20, 2008 because of a high level of formaldehyde in the cockpits of a few of the aircraft. The aircraft were restored to flight status shortly thereafter.

Serials of F-16I Sufa aircraft

00-1001/1050		Lockheed Martin F-16I Block 52+ Fighting Falcon
				MSN YD-1/50.  To Israel AF under Peace Marble V.
				1001 (YD-1) IDF/AF 401.  remains in USA for use by F-16 Combined Test Force at
					Edwards AFB.
				1002 IDF/AF 403
				1003 IDF/AF 404
				1004 IDF/AF 253
				1005 IDF/AF 407
				1006 IDF/AF 408
				1007 IDF/AF 410
				1008 IDF/AF 411
				1009 IDF/AF 413
				1010 IDF/AF 415
				1011 IDF/AF 417
				1012 IDF/AF 421
				1013 IDF/AF 422
				1014 IDF/AF 425
				1015 IDF/AF 427
				1016 IDF/AF 430
				1017 IDF/AF 432
				1018 IDF/AF 434
				1019 IDF/AF 437
				1020 IDF/AF 440
				1021 IDF/AF 441
				1022 IDF/AF 444
				1023 IDF/AF 445
				1024 IDF/AF 447
				1025 IDF/AF 448
				1026 IDF/AF 451
				1027 IDF/AF 455
				1028 IDF/AF 456
				1029 IDF/AF 457
				1030 IDF/AF 459
				1031 IDF/AF 462
				1032 IDF/AF 463
				1033 IDF/AF 466
				1034 IDF/AF 468
				1035 IDF/AF 469
				1036 IDF/AF 470
				1037 IDF/AF 471
				1038 IDF/AF 476
				1039 IDF/AF 477
				1040 IDF/AF 478
				1041 IDF/AF 480.  Crashed Nov 10, 2010.  The aircraft was part of a four-ship formation that was on a 
					training exercise from Ramon AFB and crashed in the area of Mitzpeh Ramon.  Both crew killed.
				1042 IDF/AF 482
				1043 IDF/AF 486
				1044 IDF/AF 488
				1045 IDF/AF 489. Plane crashed Jul 19, 2006 while taking off from an IDF base in the Negev desert as
					part of operations against targets in Lebanon. An initial report suggests that
					one of the jets tyres burst on take-off, causing instabilities to the jet which
					was loaded with armaments. The crew followed ejection procedures and the
					aircraft crashed without causing any injuries on the ground.  Some sources state this mishap 
					wasn't a complete write-off but that the aircraft was captured in the emergency net at the end 
					of the runway and should be repairable
				1046 IDF/AF 491
				1047 IDF/AF 493
				1048 IDF/AF 494
				1049 IDF/AF 497
				1050 IDF/AF 499

99-0400/0451		Lockheed Martin F-16I Sufa
				MSN YD-51/YD102.  For Israeli AF
				0400 (MSN YD-51) to IDFAF 107.  W/o Jul 8, 2013
				0401 (MSN YD-52) to IDFAF 803
				0402 (MSN YD-53) to IDFAF 808
				0403 (MSN YD-54) to IDFAF 811
				0404 (MSN YD-55) to IDFAF 813
				0405 (MSN YD-56) to IDFAF 816
				0406 (MSN YD-57) to IDFAF 823
				0407 (MSN YD-58) to IDFAF 826
				0408 (MSN YD-59) to IDFAF 827
				0409 (MSN YD-60) to IDFAF 833
				0410 (MSN YD-61) to IDFAF 836
				0411 (MSN YD-62) to IDFAF 839
				0412 (MSN YD-63) to IDFAF 843
				0413 (MSN YD-64) to IDFAF 844
				0414 (MSN YD-65) to IDFAF 846
				0415 (MSN YD-66) to IDFAF 848
				0416 (MSN YD-67) to IDFAF 849
				0417 (MSN YD-68) to IDFAF 851
				0418 (MSN YD-69) to IDFAF 852
				0419 (MSN YD-70) to IDFAF 854
				0420 (MSN YD-71) to IDFAF 855
				0421 (MSN YD-72) to IDFAF 857
				0422 (MSN YD-73) to IDFAF 858
				0423 (MSN YD-74) to IDFAF 860
				0424 (MSN YD-75) to IDFAF 862
				0425 (MSN YD-76) to IDFAF 863
				0426 (MSN YD-77) to IDFAF 864
				0427 (MSN YD-78) to IDFAF 865
				0428 (MSN YD-79) to IDFAF 868
				0429 (MSN YD-80) to IDFAF 869
				0430 (MSN YD-81) to IDFAF 871
				0431 (MSN YD-82) to IDFAF 872
				0432 (MSN YD-83) to IDFAF 873
				0433 (MSN YD-84) to IDFAF 874
				0434 (MSN YD-85) to IDFAF 875
				0435 (MSN YD-86) to IDFAF 876
				0436 (MSN YD-87) to IDFAF 877
				0437 (MSN YD-88) to IDFAF 878
				0438 (MSN YD-89) to IDFAF 879
				0439 (MSN YD-90) to IDFAF 880
				0440 (MSN YD-91) to IDFAF 881
				0441 (MSN YD-92) to IDFAF 882
				0442 (MSN YD-93) to IDFAF 884
				0443 (MSN YD-94) to IDFAF 886
				0444 (MSN YD-95) to IDFAF 887
				0445 (MSN YD-96) to IDFAF 890
				0446 (MSN YD-97) to IDFAF 891
				0447 (MSN YD-98) to IDFAF 892
				0448 (MSN YD-99) to IDFAF 893
				0449 (MSN YD-100) to IDFAF 894
				0450 (MSN YD-101) to IDFAF 896
				0451 (MSN YD-102) to IDFAF 898
				


Sources:


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  2. General Dynamics Aircraft and their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.

  4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  5. F-16 Fighting Falcon--A Major Review of the West's Universal Warplane, Robert F. Dorr, World Airpower Journal, Spring 1991.

  6. The World's Great Interceptor Aircraft, Gallery, 1989.

  7. Modern Military Aircraft--F-16 Viper, Lou Drendel, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1992.

  8. Lockheed F-16 Variants, Part 1, World Airpower Journal, Volume 21, Summer 1995.

  9. Military Aviation Review, World Airpower Journal, Vol 39, Winter 1999.

  10. Military Aviation Review, World Airpower Journal, Vol 40, Spring 2000.

  11. Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 40 and Beyond, Bill Sweetman, World AirPower Journal, Vol 36, Spring 1999

  12. News Headlines, Air Forces Monthly, April 2004.

  13. News Headlines, Air Forces Monthly, February 2004.

  14. General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon Variants, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Dynamics_F-16_Fighting_Falcon_variants#F-16AM.2FBM_Block_15_MLU

  15. F-16I Soufa Multirole Fighter, Israel, http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/f-16i/