The F-16 Multinational Staged Improvement Program (MSIP) was the development program that the F-16 program used to move beyond the F-16A/B. Its primary product was the F-16C/D, an aircraft whose design evolved over time as new technological capabilities become available or attractive to incorporate in its design. MSIP is the program that F-16C/D developers have used to introduce these capabilities over time.
The F-16 SPO and General Dynamics organize their integration activities around blocks of new aircraft. Each block of aircraft has an identifiable constellation of systems that must be integratted. Blocks 5, 10, and 15 involved improvements in the reliability, supty, and producibility of the F-16A/B design. Blocks 25, 30/32, 40/42, 50/52, and higher involved extensive enough changes to call for a designation change from F-I6A/B to F-16C/D. The systems to be included in a block change over time as more information accumulates about their availability and capability.
Blocks 30 and 32 differ only in their engines: whereas Block 30 uses the General Electric F110M-100 engine, Block 32 uses the Pratt and Whitney F10PW-220 egine. The same applies to Blocks 40/42 and 50/53.
In the months that preceded 'Peace for the Galilee' in 1982, the F-16's had shot down five Syrian fighters: three MiG-21's and two MiG-23's. It was during this time that negotiations began for the purchase of 75 more F-16 C and D models, but this was postponed because of the war in Lebanon, and was only finalized in August of 1983. The $3 billion deal was the largest-scale arms purchase Israel had ever carried out. It included a commitment by General Dynamics, the American manufacturer of the F-16, to carry out reciprocal purchases totalling $300 million in Israel. These purchases included deals with private Israeli companies as well as production orders from the IAI and from Israel's Military Industry.
The first three F-16C's arrived on February 9th 1987, flown by American pilots. They landed at an IAF base in northern Israel and were given the Hebrew name 'Barak'.
The F-16 C/D models have several conspicuous improvements that differentiate them from the A/B models. They have more powerful engine with greater static thrust, as well as improved radar, an advanced cockpit with two multi-function displays (MFD's) and a holographic wide angle heads-up display (HUD), a stronger airframe affording greater payload carry capacity, improved electronic warfare (EW), 'fly-by-wire' controls and advanced weapons systems, night flight and night fighting systems as well as other avionics.
A new F-16 squadron was established on August 1st 1994, and was equipped by 50 F-16 A/B planes that Israel received from the USAF surplus. A special IAF team had tested and picked the planes, some of which had participated in Desert Storm. The F-16's, all of which were at least 10 years old, were rigorously tested upon their arrival in Israel, fully disassembled and only reassembled after all their parts had been evaluated. They then underwent improvement, which mostly meant engine upgrades and retrofitting of unique IAF systems. After being absorbed in the squadron, they underwent another series of test flights and weapons tests.
A year after they equipped the squadron, the planes had their first day in battle, in the ranks of the IAF: the F-16's carried out attack sorties against several targets manned by Ahmed Jibril's men, around Nu'eimeh and Damur in Southern Lebanon.
In Operation 'Grapes of Wrath' (1996) the IDF and its air arm, Heyl Ha'avir, targeted terrorists in Southern Lebanon, with the purpose of halting 'Katyusha' rocket fire against Israeli civilians in the northern Galilee. In the course of the operation, the IAF's new F-16 squadron attacked Beirut's electrical power plant. The mission was to hit only specific sections of the plant, plunging parts of Beirut into darkness, in retaliation for the Katyushas which had caused a power outage in Kiryat Shmonah the previous day. This was the first time since 'Peace for the Galilee' that the IAF operated in Beirut.
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