Agile F-16 Falcon

How would this have affected the F-16's top-speed, and high-speed maneuverability?


Kendra Lesnick
 
KJ_Lesnick said:
How would this have affected the F-16's top-speed, and high-speed maneuverability?


Kendra Lesnick

A better place to ask would be F-16.net.
 
At the very least it would've required more power at speed based on larger wing = more lift = more drag
 
Later F-16 was short on wing area and thrust due to weight growth. Higher thrust engines improved the T/W ratio but the wing loading could only be addressed with a new wing. I imagine it was decided it was unneccessary as F-15 was primary A/A asset while F-16 is primarily A/S tasked.
 
Agile Falcon was a response to 1987? directive from OSD to Mcs and GD, to look at improvements to F-16 and F-18. Mainly for export, intended to head off anticipated competition from Typhoon and Rafale, given that F-22 was not considered exportable. It was the start of the process that led to the Super Hornet, but the GD design never went anywhere. Nobody was in the market at the time, and the payoff compared with the investment was not that great. Not long after that, GD's future studies shifted to the delta-wing Falcon 21, which begat F-16U and which offered much more improvement, particularly in air-to-ground.
 
sferrin said:
KJ_Lesnick said:
How would this have affected the F-16's top-speed, and high-speed maneuverability?


Kendra Lesnick

A better place to ask would be F-16.net.

Or even compare a F-16 with the Mitsubishi F-2 - it seems very similar in design to the Agile Falcon, having a 25% wing area increase over the F-16.

Starviking
 
Sources:
GDFW This Week, Volume 1, Number 5, July 31, 1987
GDFW This Week, Volume 2, Number 29, July 22, 1988
Division Log, Number 7170, July 15, 1988

via https://texashistory.unt.edu
 

Attachments

  • metapth1091945_xl_0001.jpg
    metapth1091945_xl_0001.jpg
    324.4 KB · Views: 630
  • metapth1091945_xl_0002.jpg
    metapth1091945_xl_0002.jpg
    452.3 KB · Views: 467
  • metapth1092173_xl_0001.jpg
    metapth1092173_xl_0001.jpg
    428.9 KB · Views: 408
  • metapth1149022_xl_supervisory-1988-07-15_01.jpg
    metapth1149022_xl_supervisory-1988-07-15_01.jpg
    400.1 KB · Views: 376
There's a somewhat dry thesis on the Agile Falcon with some interesting information in there.


The U.S. cancelled the Agile Falcon program by deciding not to fund the program past the predevelopment phase. The predevelopment of the Derivative Aircraft Program (Agile Falcon) concludes in December 1989. Paper studies including wind tunnel test data of the proposed configuration will be delivered to the USAF. However, the Mid-Life 45 Update program will continue with 75% of the kits procured intended for the EPGs with delivery beginning in 1996. During Agile Falcon negotiations with EPGs, the U.S. turned down proposals from Korea, Turkey, and Israel to participate in the Agile Falcon codevelopment program (39:1). Defense News reported on 5 June 1989 that DOD is interested in bringing the Agile Falcon back to life sometime in the future under the Japanese/U.S. FSX codevelopment program. The two aircraft designs are .very similar with both incorporating a large wing. It is possible an Agile Falcon/FSX hybrid could become the Block 80 F-16 configuration.
 
From Troubled partnership
 

Attachments

  • D77E5875-23DF-40A5-86A8-53EEB4FE5AD7.png
    D77E5875-23DF-40A5-86A8-53EEB4FE5AD7.png
    369.3 KB · Views: 300
  • E6F4011F-44AE-48DD-8213-054DBC849030.png
    E6F4011F-44AE-48DD-8213-054DBC849030.png
    361.3 KB · Views: 267
  • 1B524898-BA85-4760-A419-14429CD2C3DF.png
    1B524898-BA85-4760-A419-14429CD2C3DF.png
    364.8 KB · Views: 299
So was the Agile Falcon/ MSIP IV program an actual retrofit for existing A/B models like the MLU program? Or was it a ploy for the European partners to buy new aircraft?
 
That increased wing design with an up to date engine would be a very nice option for the cheap 4.5G plane USAF talked about, if there was any reality to that story.
 
F-16 Agile Falcon model from GD, 1/40 scale.
 

Attachments

  • thumbnail_20210509_165206.jpg
    thumbnail_20210509_165206.jpg
    205 KB · Views: 425
  • thumbnail_20210509_165247.jpg
    thumbnail_20210509_165247.jpg
    176.8 KB · Views: 403
  • thumbnail_20210509_165253.jpg
    thumbnail_20210509_165253.jpg
    116.2 KB · Views: 339
  • thumbnail_20210509_165215.jpg
    thumbnail_20210509_165215.jpg
    168.5 KB · Views: 412
Geez @RAP and @F-2 has got me feeling down. A big-wing AESA F-16 by the mid 90s? Plus a further growth option with the ATF's engine, such a lost opportunity.
 
How would a notional big-wing ATF engined F-16 compare performance wise to later studies with full deltas like the Falcon-21 with a big F-22 style wing?
 
Big wing Agile Falcon would be better subsonically, Falcon-21 better at high speeds.
 
There seem to have been several versions of Agile Falcon throughout the proposals life.

First was the original 1984 proposal. A 375 square foot wing area adding 7.5 feet to the wing span (40 feet!). Then current or near term C avionics (MSIP II and III). Wing construction would have been metal with composite skin just like the F-16xl.

By 1987 GD had refined the proposal somewhat to include more composite in the construction of the wing, though it would still be primarily metal and standar F-16c avionics. These formed the basis of the SX-2 and SX-3 proposal for GDs bid on the FS-X and probably the bid to the European partner nations. SX-3 evolved into SX-3+ which incorporated a number of Japanese domestic technologies and required a number of changes such as a redesigned Radome, 16 inch fusalage plug, and a new cockpit. Of great interest to GD was Mitsubishi’s all composite wing box which was desirable technology transfer for the A-12 and future agile Falcon proposals.

By 1988 GD and the air force though that the wing area should be expanded to 400 square feet for better expected performance. As Agile Falcon funding formally ended in 1987 DoD officials attempted to convince Japanese officials of the merits of a 400 square foot wing in hopes of using it. With the FSX controversy still fresh they treaded lightly and presented their data to the Japanese who took interest but felt their national wing design was better for their needs. Notable at this point agile Falcon included the 16 inch fuselage plug of the F-2.



Later Agile Falcons in the 90s seem to incorporate AESA (almost certainly APG-80/agile beam radar) and the big engines like the F100-pw-229a or F110-ge-132 much like the F-16at and block 60. Notably they are often mentioned in context of the Super Hornet.
 
sferrin said:
KJ_Lesnick said:
How would this have affected the F-16's top-speed, and high-speed maneuverability?


Kendra Lesnick

A better place to ask would be F-16.net.

Or even compare a F-16 with the Mitsubishi F-2 - it seems very similar in design to the Agile Falcon, having a 25% wing area increase over the F-16.

Starviking
Agile Falcon was the basis of Mitsubishi F-2. Guys associated with the F-16 development that frequent f16.net have said so. Mitsubishi reshaped the nose and tail to fit their needs. They went with the bigger wing to support a four ASuM load, and that required an increase in stabilizers.

The U.S. wouldn't fund this development, nor the XL versions, due to the F-15E lobby. It just was too close to fulfilling the role of the latter. General Dynamic and Lockheed wouldn't merge for a half-decade but they were very closely associated at the time. The government wasn't too keen on giving them any bigger piece of defense spending than was already in the works. They had just combined with Boeing as a minor partner, to win the ATF competition.
 
Last edited:
sferrin said:
KJ_Lesnick said:
How would this have affected the F-16's top-speed, and high-speed maneuverability?


Kendra Lesnick

A better place to ask would be F-16.net.

Or even compare a F-16 with the Mitsubishi F-2 - it seems very similar in design to the Agile Falcon, having a 25% wing area increase over the F-16.

Starviking

Sources:
GDFW This Week, Volume 1, Number 5, July 31, 1987
GDFW This Week, Volume 2, Number 29, July 22, 1988
Division Log, Number 7170, July 15, 1988

via https://texashistory.unt.edu

Interestingly, someone on Quora modified (or took an image from someone who did) one of the graphics above to make the following image comparing the original F-16, the Agile Falcon proposal and the F-2A (in blue); not too sure how accurate it is though, opinions gladly appreciated:
 

Attachments

  • main-qimg-179cddebdecde94cb99cf3696c05dfe8-lq.jpg
    main-qimg-179cddebdecde94cb99cf3696c05dfe8-lq.jpg
    42.9 KB · Views: 394
sferrin said:
KJ_Lesnick said:
How would this have affected the F-16's top-speed, and high-speed maneuverability?


Kendra Lesnick

A better place to ask would be F-16.net.

Or even compare a F-16 with the Mitsubishi F-2 - it seems very similar in design to the Agile Falcon, having a 25% wing area increase over the F-16.

Starviking

Sources:
GDFW This Week, Volume 1, Number 5, July 31, 1987
GDFW This Week, Volume 2, Number 29, July 22, 1988
Division Log, Number 7170, July 15, 1988

via https://texashistory.unt.edu

Interestingly, someone on Quora modified (or took an image from someone who did) one of the graphics above to make the following image comparing the original F-16, the Agile Falcon proposal and the F-2A (in blue); not too sure how accurate it is though, opinions gladly appreciated:
It’s pretty accurate. It’s an old agile Falcon standard Falcon comparison with the F-2 overlaid. This version doesn’t have the fuselage plug so it’s the same length as the regular f-16 and shorter then the F-2. Note that while the F-2 started as an agile Falcon it used its own national wing (not related to any Agile Falcon wing) which GD was excluded from. One GD engine said it was more a big F-5 wing then a F-16 wing. Early Fs-x art uses the Agile Falcon Wings.
 

Attachments

  • 56B4C9D2-E7BA-458C-9A32-8538EA803873.png
    56B4C9D2-E7BA-458C-9A32-8538EA803873.png
    1.1 MB · Views: 440
Last edited:
Little bit more info.
You know reading that first one makes me curious, how many f-16 were canceled because of the end of the cold war?

Because it talks about a long term 2737 order, with 1859 already to be delivered or on order by may 1991, on f-16.net its claimed that about 1500 (actually 2128 according to their delivery table ?) around had been delivered by 1990, and in total the airforce had 2231 delivered total.
 
GD did not explain in the proposal the basis for the calculation of the wing area for SX-3.
Since Mitsubishi has not received that document, Mitsubishi does not know the basis for the wing area.
Mitsubishi requested GD to provide the data on the basis for the calculation of SX-3. However, GD's response was, "We searched within the company, but no such documents existed.
They then added, "We have searched within the company, but there were no such documents.
It is likely that it is still in Hillaker's brain and has not come out.

The area-of-existence graph is plotted with the thrust-to-weight ratio on the vertical axis and the wing loading on the horizontal axis.

For the JDA's performance requirements, GD and Mitsubishi calculated the wing area separately, and the results of the calculations were the same, which is coincidental in the sense that it was unintentional, but also an engineering necessity.

However, the wing recession angle and aspect ratio are different because of the different conditions considered.

The chief designer of the F-2 stated.

In the end, FSX referred to the license data and GD's proposal, but did not use the data as is.
We set the specifications and shape according to our ideas and our philosophy, and the design was approved by the Japanese Defense Agency.

View: https://i.imgur.com/TghxmkR.jpg
 

Attachments

  • main-qimg-0f503a14401a4f688646ad47b6d41e20-lq.jpeg
    main-qimg-0f503a14401a4f688646ad47b6d41e20-lq.jpeg
    44 KB · Views: 125
That’s really interesting! That book is a great resource even if google lense can be a pain.

One thing I’m surprised by is that they didn’t have anything on the Agile Falcon wing, but according to Troubled Partnership the first Agile Falcon design was frozen in August 1985 years before.
 
Back
Top Bottom