|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The F-16E (single seat) and F-16F (two seat) are the latest version of the F-16. They do not exist in the USAF inventory and are currently an export variant only. Originally, the single-seat version of the General Dynamics F-16XL was to have been designated F-16E, with the twin-seat variant designated F-16F. This was sidelined by the Air Force's selection of the competing F-15E Strike Eagle in the Enhanced Tactical Fighter fly-off in 1984. The 'Block 60' designation had also previously been set aside in 1989 for the A-16, but this model was also dropped. The F-16E/F designation now belongs to a special version developed especially for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and is sometimes unofficially called the "Desert Falcon".
Block 60 is based on the F-16C/D Block 50/52. It features improved radar, avionics and conformal fuel tanks; it has only been sold to the United Arab Emirates. At one time, this version was incorrectly thought to have been designated "F-16U". A major difference from previous blocks is the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-80 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, which gives the airplane the capability to simultaneously track and destroy ground and air threats. The Block 60's General Electric F110-GE-132 engine is a development of the -129 model and is rated at 32,500 lbf (144 kN). The Block 60 allows the carriage of all Block 50/52-compatible weaponry as well as AIM-132 Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) and the AGM-84E Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM). The CFTs provide an additional 450 US gallon (2,045 L) of fuel, allowing increased range or time on station and frees up hardpoints for weapons instead of underwing fuel tanks. The MIL-STD-1553 data bus is replaced by MIL-STD-1773 fiber-optic data bus which offers a 1000 times increase in data-handling capability. UAE funded the entire $3 billion Block 60 development costs, and in exchange will receive royalties if any of the Block 60 aircraft are sold to other nations. A press report stated that this is "the first time the US has sold a better aircraft [F-16] overseas than its own forces fly".
From what I can see, this is the standard Hasegawa F-16D kit with a number of new sprues to make the F-16F variant. If you have built any of the 1/48 F-16 kits by Hasegawa, this one should build in a very similar manner.
So what is on the new sprues. Well, those are the new conformal fuel tanks as well as a new section that fits on the spine to house additional electronics. The kit also includes a new fin/rudder and a considerable number of lumps and bumps that go with the improved avionics suite. It totals out to six sprues of varying sizes.
Typical of other Hasegawa F-16s, you get AMRAAMs and sidewinders for weapons along with a centerline fuel tank. Actually the other big tanks are there, but not shown as used.
Instructions are very well done with the usual Gunze paint references. Many holes will need to be opened or filled for this one so get the drills and filler ready. These are clearly shown in the instructions. There are markings for four planes all painted the same way in two shades of grey. All carry UAE insignia and differ only in serial numbers and fin markings. Two are standard UAE planes and two are from the UAE Training Unit with the Arizona ANG in Tucson. Decals are very nicely done and should provide no problems at all. Full stencils are part of the package.
So we now have a kit of the latest and greatest F-16. It will be quite interesting to see how many other nations decide to fork out for this latest Falcon. It should make for a superb display .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-16_Fighting_Falcon February 2010 My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer. Back to the Main Page Back to the Previews Index Page
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page