The F-16I Sufa ("Storm") is a highly localized two-seat version of Israel's classic General Dynamics (now Lockheed) F-16 Fighting Falcon light multirole fighter. The design incorporates a number of unique features that make it primarily Israeli in nature, updating key aspects of the already proven fighter.
At the heart of the F-16I is a direct evolution of the F-16 "Block 52" product.
The official IAF request for this fighter was born in September 1997, with the F-16I design successfully competing with another Air Force option, the more F-15I Ra'am long-range attack platform. The final selection was made in July 1999.
From there, the IAF ordered a total of 102 F-16Is, resulting in an improved F-16 that flew as a prototype on December 23, 2003. Deliveries to EL AL Services began in February of the following year.
The F-16I includes changes to its avionics, instrumentation and weapons support (APG-68 (9) series radar mounted on the nose, Pratt & Whitney (PW) F100-PW-229 afterburner turbofan mounted on both) the tail is still there). About half of the existing aircraft's avionics were replaced with custom kits, and new locally developed helmet goggles (HMS) were introduced.
During this design and development process, extended weapons support for Israeli-made missiles such as Raphael's Anaconda 5 was also introduced. In addition, the fuselage was modified to support compliant fuel tanks on either side of the backline to increase combat range but added weight.
The result is a more lethal target-hunting air platform that fits the IAF's current attack or defense theory. The F-16I fought side by side with the F-15 Eagle air superiority/multipurpose tags (A, C, and I) for an impressive "one two." In addition to the 66 of the aforementioned F-15 types, the current (2019) IAF inventory includes up to 175 F-16-related fighters (C and I).
A dozen F-35I 5th-generation stealth-centric strike fighters are also on standby, with another 38 to follow, further strengthening the existing IAF fighter fleet.
48.56 ft (14.8 m)
32.15 ft (9.8 m)
15.75 ft (4.8 m)
19,842 lb (9,000 kg)
1,501 mph (2,415 km/h; 1,304 knots)
52,493 ft (16,000 m; 9.94 mi)
2,001 miles (3,220 km; 1,739 nautical miles)
1 x 20mm M61A1 built-in automatic cannon.
2 x Short-Range Air-to-Air Missiles on wingtip launchers.
Approximately 17,000 pounds of externally retained landing/launch bearings with a total of 9 hardpoints (3 under each wing and 3 under the fuselage). Supported weapon systems include additional short- or medium-range air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, precision-guided bombs, conventionally thrown bombs, and rocket pods.
3 disposable drop tanks are also supported.
F-16I "Sufa" - the name of the basic series.