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The F-16 is the largest Western fighter program with over 4,000 aircraft built since production started in 1976. Though no longer produced for the US Air Force, it is still produced for export.
The Fighting Falcon is a superb dogfighter with innovations including a frameless, bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while under high g-forces, and reclined seat to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot. It was also the first fighter aircraft to be deliberately built to sustain 9g turns. It is also one of the few jets with a thrust-to-weight ratio greater than one, giving the Falcon excellent acceleration.
Although the F-16's official name is "Fighting Falcon", it is known to its pilots as the "Viper", after the Battlestar Galactica starfighter.
In 1993, General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation, which in turn became part of Lockheed Martin after a 1995 merger with Martin Marietta.