In recent years, the largest amount of US arms sales to Taiwan has attracted the most attention. The most praised items in Taiwans media are F-16V, including the upgrading of 150 F-16A/B in active service in Taiwan and the purchase of 66 more recently under discussion. It is precisely because of this that a U.S. Air Force F-16C fighter plane suddenly broke down during the flight performance recently. The media mistook the aircraft as F-16V because of the code name of the U.S. Army performance team viper, and immediately there was a great public outcry.
F-16C with a sudden crack in the tail wing during the Tiger Club performance
The photograph of the F-16 fighter plane 98-0080 in this accident has been on the cover of military magazines at home and abroad for many times, so it can be regarded as an old acquaintance.
Military commentators on Observer. com said that although the failure was not actually an F-16V fighter, it was also an F-16C fighter that was manufactured only in 1998. Its age was younger than 150 F-16V Retrofitted from Taiwan, but there was still a possible failure due to aging.
According to the website of Flight International magazine, on July 21, at the RAF Tiger Club (RIAT 2019) event, the USAF Viper demo team (Viper) was the unofficial nickname given to the F-16 by the US Air Force, formally known as the Falcon, while Lockheed gave the F-16 the official nickname. - The latest model of the improved F-16V, which means viper, was flying a F-16C (Block 50) fighter with the number 96-0080.
Driven by pilot Major Garrett Schmitz, who is also the captain of the Flight Performance Team, the plane suddenly broke down after several flying performances and was forced to stop performing. The aircraft then climbed to assess the cause of the failure, then lowered the landing gear at low speed to allow ground personnel to observe the aircrafts failure, and then made a forced landing.
Photographs show that the rear edge of the horizontal tail wing on the right side of the aircraft was damaged, the panel made of epoxy graphite cracked, and accessories such as lightning rods on the tail wing were also lost. Reporters at the scene asked the Viper Show Team personnel, who said that the failure may be due to the spontaneous delamination of composite materials.
The media mistakenly thought that the plane of the viper performance team was the F-16V... In fact, the viper is the unofficial nickname of the U.S. Air Force for the F-16 series aircraft.
Of course, the mainland has also been misled by the media.
According to the article, the composite panel of F-16 tail fin is covered with the aluminium alloy skeleton, and it also has multi-layer structure itself. Layer failure will lead to cracking, damage and even overall shedding of the tail fin outer panel.
In this case, the cause of the failure may have been the persistent overload in the demonstration.
It is reported that the F-16 fighter plane of the Viper Performance Team was temporarily transferred from the 480 Fighter Squadron based in Spandalem, Germany, and belongs to the active fighter aircraft of the US Air Force combat forces.
Taiwans media reported that the F-16V fighter plane was the cause of the accident, but that was not the case. It was only an F-16C (Block 50) fighter, and no F-16V modification was carried out, said Xia Yaya, a military commentator on Observer.com. According to information, the F-16C fighter, 96-0080, was commissioned on December 4, 1998 and delivered to the 23rd Battle Eagle Squadron of the US Air Force. It began to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006, and then in Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya in 2011. The aircraft has undergone a General Structural Upgrading Project (CCIP, the U.S. Air Force began to modify the F-16 fleet in 2002, mainly by installing data link systems and compatible with new types of ammunition), so its model is also reported to be F-16CM (all Block40 42 It is not an improved version of the air defense suppression mission reported by some media.
The aircraft did not undergo F-16V modification, and the viper performance team mainly demonstrated F-16 fighters high maneuverability to various countries, rather than specifically showing F-16V, which some media reports are incorrect.
Nevertheless, the tail wing structure of Taiwans F-16 Block 20 fighter aircraft is the same as that of this F-16 CBlock 50 fighter aircraft. The tail wing of the F-16A/B fighter aircraft was used in 1980. The earliest YF-16 fighter aircraft used honeycomb tail with small area and insufficient maneuverability to change when it entered the deep spin state. For this reason, since Block 15, the F-16 series has adopted a non-honeycomb tail with an area increase of 15%. This kind of tail is made of aluminium alloy. Of course, honeycomb aluminium material still exists in the tail, mainly the leading edge of the tail. Epoxy graphite material is used as the outer plate of the new tail. The front and rear edges of the tail and the side of the tail have aluminium alloy structure outer frames.
The tail wing structure of F-16 fighter aircraft, which has been used since BLOCK 15, is composed of aluminium alloy frame and composite skin on the skeleton.
Previously, the F-15 and 16 fighter planes of the U.S. Air Force had reported accelerated aging due to damp corrosion of honeycomb structures, resulting in structural damage at high overload. This time, the F-16 is said to have occurred lamination of composite panels, although the direct cause may be high overload, but in fact it has been repeated. Aging or improper maintenance of composite materials may be the main cause of real damage under high overload.
The structure of the F-16 fighter can withstand 9 G overload, but rarely in flight performances with such a large overload. Normally, such a failure should not occur. This failure is likely to indicate that the tail of the aircraft has aging problems.
As mentioned above, this F-16 fighter aircraft was only in service in 1998, and 150 F-16 Block20 fighter planes currently undergoing F-16V modification in Taiwan have been produced earlier than it. In future air confrontation, Taiwanese military aircraft may also encounter delamination failure of tail-wing composite materials under high overload.
However, according to previous photos of Taiwans F-16V test flight, the aircraft may have replaced some composite skin, including the tail fin outer panel. If so, it is possible to extend its life and ensure that there is no similar failure to the F-16.
In the process of F-16V modification, some skins were replaced (the yellow primary part in the picture). It can be seen that the tail skins of the Taiwanese Army have also been replaced. In theory, the same kind of failure of the US Army can be avoided.
Nevertheless, the F-16V, as a fighter with no stealth capability, is still a fantasy. Taiwans media in the U.S. F-16 malfunction event showed that listening to the wind is the rain, perhaps the best irony to their F-16V myth.
On July 24, the PLA Air Force released photographs showing that the J-20 fighter units in the eastern theatre already have operational capabilities. Maybe soon the Taiwanese army will be able to try out how horrible the experience of facing the J-20 is...
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