The F-22 Raptor may have only made it to 187 built, and the F-35 Lightning II program is struggling with delays and cost overruns, but Lockheed Martin has a reason to celebrate. Last month they delivered the 4,500th F-16 Fighting Falcon. The first YF-16 flew as part of the Light Weight Fighter competition in 1974. Of course, back then it was a General Dynamics product. It wasn’t until 1993 that Lockheed acquired GD’s aircraft business, including the F-16. To celebrate the delivery of the 4,500th F-16, Lockheed Martin released this video:
Lots of history there, but I still wish the F-16XL had gone into production. It is just a damn cool looking design.
EDIT: Lockheed released this video today, of test pilot Phil Oestricher telling the story of the unplanned first flight of the YF-16 – Flight Zero: