The F-16 Fighting Falcon was produced by General Dynamics who became Lockheed who then merged with Martin Marietta to become Lockheed Martin. The F-16 entered service in January 1979 as a multi-role jet fighter that evolved into an all-weather multi-role aircraft capable of sustaining 9-g turns. The F-16 is relatively inexpensive to purchase and maintain so the U.S. and 25 other countries added it to their inventory. The Fighting Falcon is referred to by its pilots as the “Viper” and will remain in USAF service until 2025.
F-16C 86-0246 was completed in 1987 assigned the 23 TFS and then the 149th TFS. In 2007 the F-16 became the property of the 457th “Spads” TFS unit at NAS Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. The 457th formed in 1944 so to honor the unit’s 75th Anniversary in 2019 they painted 86-0246 in a Lone Star State scheme with representations of the various aircraft the unit has flown over the 75 years. Due to unforeseen problems it wasn’t available until November 2020.