Book review – F-16 Viper

F-16 Viper (Moden Military Aircraft)
Lou Drendel
Squadron/Signal Publications
1992

What it’s about:

General coverage of the F-16

What I liked about the book:

The F-16 is the leading 4th generation American fighter aircraft in terms of production quantities. It has been an unquestioned technical and operational success story, and it just looks good! Therefore it is no suprise that many books have been written about it.

Squadron Signal Publications is well-known for their In Action and Walk Around series, which have covered the F-16 in two volumes in the former series and one in the latter. Besides the two flagship series in their landscape format, Squadron also publishes “specials” in portrait format. This book was their first “special” to cover the F-16 and another was published about a decade ago.

The introduction is interesting but nothing special. The F-16 chronology is quite good, and provides an excellent “big picture” of how the F-16 progressed from program initiation, development and testing into widespread operational service. Perhaps the unique aspect of this book is the interviews with two F-16 pilots who flew in Operation Desert Storm, relating their combat experiences. The heart of the typical Squadron book is the photographs and illustrations. The photographs cover an interesting and diverse range of units, markings, paint schemes, countries and armament loadings. The color illustrations created by Lou Drendel are a treat as always. Tom Tullis contributed a nice set of line drawings of the aircraft.

What could have been done better:

Of course this is no fault of the book, but it’s over 20 years old, which means that it only covers the first two decades of the F-16 program. Photography, image editing and printing technology have advanced greatly since this book was published, and while nicely done by the standards of the time it’ not as nice as a more modern book.

Summary:

It’s a nice book, and a nice supplement to the other Squadron books about the F-16. The book is showing its age but is still a worthwhile read or purchase if you can find a used copy.

Rating:

5 stars out of a possible 5.

Full disclosure: Your humble correspondent has written books for this publisher, but purchased this book himself and is reviewing it on his own behalf.

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