F-16XL (SCAMP): WHY AMERICA DIDN’T GET THE BEST F-16

F-16XL SCAMP NASA Lockheed
1995 photo of the single-seat F-16XL, NASA 849, joining up with an SR-71A, NASA 844, as crews set up for one of the flights in the recent sonic boom research program conducted by the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California.

During the missions, the F-16XL probed the shockwaves generated by the SR-71, while at lower altitudes sensors on an F-18 and on a YO-3A, and also on the ground, recorded data from the same shockwave. Photo: NASA
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F-16XL SCAMP: For more than forty years, the F-16 Fighting Falcon has served as the backbone of the U.S. Air Force’s fighter fleet, but one year before the first F-16 entered service, the team behind its development had already developed a better F-16, in the F-16XL. The fighter was so capable, in fact, that it went from being nothing more than a technology demonstrator to serving as legitimate competition for the venerable F-15E in the Air Force’s Advanced Tactical Fighter program. Ultimately, it would lose out to the F-15E based on production cost and redundancy of systems, but many still contend that the F-16XL was actually the better platform.

While that assertion may be subject to debate, there’s little debate as to whether the F-16XL could have been one of the most capable 4th generation fighters on the planet. Read more

F-16XL SCAMP NASA Lockheed
Photo: NASA
F-16XL SCAMP NASA Lockheed
Photo: NASA

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