AFTI F-16 Walkaround


The U.S. Air Force used this highly modified fighter for more than 20 years to test new and award-winning ideas in flight control, electronic targeting, and cockpit design.  A one-of-a-kind aircraft, the Advanced Fighter Technology Integration (AFTI)/F-16 made more than 700 flights in ten different research programs between 1978 and 2000.

               Photo from Dryden Flight Test Center  

AFTI/F-16 programs developed targeting lasers and computers, and new autopilot and ground-avoidance systems allowed pilots to fly faster and lower while seeking and attacking targets. Other AFTI advances included digital flight controls, a voice-activated maneuvering system allowing the pilot to "point" the aircraft in unusual flight attitudes, and touch-sensitive cockpit displays.

The aircraft's last project contributed to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) design by reducing aircraft weight and increasing maneuverability. One of this program's most significant achievements was the first-ever use of all-electric "power by wire" flight controls, with no hydraulic or mechanical backups to move the aircraft's control surfaces. This milestone won the AFTI team the 2000 Aerospace Industry Award for Engineering, Maintenance and Modification. (text by the NMUSAF staff)

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