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Is taking 3 fuel tanks on a F-16 a good idea?


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One of the biggest problem I have with the F-16 is that it has poor fuel endurance. I had several incidences that I'm running low on fuel in the middle of an air to air engagement and having to disengage and RTB because I left the afterburner running for too long (I blame War Thunder for this /s).  I usually run two fuel tanks so I'm wondering whether running three fuel tanks is worth it. Also, how do I when a fuel tank is empty so that I can jettison it?

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Posted (edited)

Pretty much always 3 bags. The hydraulic pump transfer limitation is not modeled yet so you can go full afterburner in a climb, top out around 30kft and jettison the centerline. You can do some variations between using wings/centerline first depending on expected time to engagement.

 

Once they model the pump limits it will be interesting to see how it works. Generally you shouldn't have fuel issues in the Viper, it has one of the best fuel economy compared to everything else in DCS.


Edited by 104th_Blaze
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Between your legs you have a fuel quantity selctor thingy, use this to see how much is left in the tanks. Or, if the total fuel is below 7200lbs, then the tanks are most likely empty.

 

And since you suspect you sit too long on afterburner, why not try to improve and use it less? It should save you a ton of fuel.

 

Well, why would taking 3 tanks be bad? 2 are usually normal in real life, and since we don't have jammer yet, might as well use that empty space for another tank if you feel it will improve your air time.

 

(What you also could try is to improve your flying style and return home before you even come close to fuel shortage)

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Why not? If you put the switch to "wings first" you can go with 3 bags without proiblems... at 9.200lbs you can, if needed drop your wing tanks and have full A/A power. The center line tank does not take a lot of drag or any negative issues, you can go CAT I easy and after the engagement you have 9.200lbs of space for fuel instead of just 7.100... give you a lotte extra of fuel. 

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1 hour ago, Strider1_Trigger said:

One of the biggest problem I have with the F-16 is that it has poor fuel endurance. I had several incidences that I'm running low on fuel in the middle of an air to air engagement and having to disengage and RTB because I left the afterburner running for too long (I blame War Thunder for this /s).  I usually run two fuel tanks so I'm wondering whether running three fuel tanks is worth it. Also, how do I when a fuel tank is empty so that I can jettison it?

I have no idea with what loadout you are flying or what speeds you do. The F-16 has very very long legs and that's with just 1 centerline tank and/or 2 wingtanks.

22 minutes ago, Mower said:

Where ever the Vipers go, tankers are not far behind.  Its a race car.  Fast but crappy endurance.

No kicking ass without tanker gas, but still .. definitely not a bad endurance!

 

Maybe OP can upload a Tacview file of how is flying? 

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Posted (edited)

Can't remember where I read this, but if I'm not mistaken, IRL it's typical to take 1 centerline tank for A-A loadouts, and it's typical to take 2 wing tanks but no centerline tank for A-G loadouts. This doesn't seem to be reflected in the default loadouts in DCS, so I wonder if ED has different information.

 

It's certainly no A-10, but for simple missions like "go here, send 2 mavericks, go home" 2 tanks seems plenty to me.


Edited by Xavven
This is incorrect. See Frederf's response below. 2 tanks is the norm for all AA and AG combat missions.
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Centerline runs out very fast. so get it then jettison it after a while. it is not charged money to the air force in dcs 🙂

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If you think that the F-16 has small fuel capacity, you should try out the F5. Without external tanks you can barely take-off.

 

I transitioned from the F5 to the F16, and the F16 feels like a Yaris as far as fuel consumption goes! 

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Posted (edited)

Also, avoid afterburner unless you really need it. The F16 flies really well and fast on Mil if you are smooth and stay above 350knots. If you use afterburner keep it to short bursts for normal flight and try to use nose down to get speed instead. Having a detent in your throttle or using the virtual detent helps massively.

 

I rarely run with 3 fuel tanks unless I really need it and no AAR is available, makes the aircraft sluggish. Mostly run with 1 or 2 external tanks. Also rarely run with no external fuel tanks, unless I'm doing a point defence scramble or similar and need to turn into a rocket ship... and even then one fuel tank goes so quick under full AB it doesn't slow you down much but does help endurance.


Edited by Sideburns

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, deadpool said:

I have no idea with what loadout you are flying or what speeds you do. The F-16 has very very long legs and that's with just 1 centerline tank and/or 2 wingtanks.

No kicking ass without tanker gas, but still .. definitely not a bad endurance!

 

Maybe OP can upload a Tacview file of how is flying? 

I usually fly with 4 AIM-120C + 2 AIM-9X + 2 wing tanks loadout. The problem is that I kept the afterburner on most of the time which cost me a lot of fuel. I got this bad habit from War Thunder. And when I need to land because I'm low on fuel sometimes it can lead to disaster like this:

Screen_210512_102628.png

(This happened in a Liberation sortie where I only managed to get 1 AIM-120 off before I ran low on fuel)

 

I guess I need to remember that DCS is not just a death match and limit my after burner use a bit. 

 

As for Tacview, I haven't downloaded it yet. I wonder whether it is free since I occasionally heard someone does give away for Tacview on YouTube.


Edited by Strider1_Trigger
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The key to endurance is discipline and altitude. Go for angels 25-30 for travel. Don't go burner all the time.
With two bags, you can go on a two hour trip with a fuel flow of about 5- 6k/h at altitude.

 

If you have below 7.6k fuel, the external tanks are empty and you might jettison those.

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12 hours ago, Strider1_Trigger said:

One of the biggest problem I have with the F-16 is that it has poor fuel endurance. I had several incidences that I'm running low on fuel in the middle of an air to air engagement and having to disengage and RTB because I left the afterburner running for too long (I blame War Thunder for this /s).  I usually run two fuel tanks so I'm wondering whether running three fuel tanks is worth it. Also, how do I when a fuel tank is empty so that I can jettison it?


The F-16 (for myself anyway) is one aircraft that exhibits good persistence, two bags being good for a very long run.

You really don’t need to be firewalling the throttle all the time chap.

 

As for checking tank contents, look for this panel down by the HSI . . . 
 

you can turn the selector and select a tank group, and look at the fuel gauge on the right for the readout on the needle.
 

8D9A6A04-0190-426F-BE51-39592EAF493A.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

I heard the Viper has longer legs than the Hornet. You just need to learn how to conserve fuel in it. 

 

2 tanks is far more than enough for me in public pvp air to air severs. My loadout is 6 AMRAAMS + 2 Wing tanks for pvp. 

 

The Viper can go high and fast. Do that. Only drop altitude if you need to defend. Once you are out of danger, climb and repeat. If you stay low and use the burner, your fuel will run out very fast. BVR in the Viper is all about energy, not hide and seek in the mountains. If you like to stay low, might as well fly a Hornet. 

 

In a target rich environment, I can usually make back home with 3000-5000 lbs fuel left since you can run out of 6 foxs really fast. 

 

BTW, the Viper uses very little fuel if you cruise at 23000-35000 ft in mil power. Use your fuel flow indicator, it's very helpful. I also recommend set your DED to bingo page (list 2) so you can monitor your fuel better during air to air combat. 

 

Also, the problem I found with 3 bags is the drag. It's hard to get above 30000 ft (35000 ft+ is ideal) and stay fast (above mach 1.2) with 3 bags when you start to enter the fight after take off. Low energy and poor firing solution means your first 2-3 missiles have low pk. That's why I never fly with 3 bags. 


Edited by SCPanda
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I usually go with 3, never had any issues with fuel. You have more fuel per consumption than the F18 and F14.

Also I use the wing tanks first, so I'm lighter when doing bvr.

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15 hours ago, Strider1_Trigger said:

One of the biggest problem I have with the F-16 is that it has poor fuel endurance.

It's not. The F-16 is very fuel efficient. For air to air, there is no reason to take more than the centerline tank (well until we get ECM, because then you'll have to take wing tanks to take ext fuel).

 

The problem you're likely facing is that you're in AB all the time and thus going fast. Going faster increases your fuel flow and so obviously will reduce your endurance. The solution to this is to covert that kinetic energy into potential energy. Don't slow down with airbrakes. Climb or turn instead. Stay high and dive when you need to accelerate. The F-16 is so quick that you can maneuver at supersonic speed with mil power.

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15 hours ago, Xavven said:

Can't remember where I read this, but if I'm not mistaken, IRL it's typical to take 1 centerline tank for A-A loadouts, and it's typical to take 2 wing tanks but no centerline tank for A-G loadouts. This doesn't seem to be reflected in the default loadouts in DCS, so I wonder if ED has different information.

USAF Vipers pretty much run two wing tanks 100% of the time in combat loadouts. Wouldn't be much reason not to take the wing tanks for A/A, since you can't put missiles on those stations. Unless you were planning on getting into a fight very close to your base, which isn't something that really happens to the USAF ever these days. 

 

Right now there isn't much reason not to take a centerline tank other than weight and drag, there isn't much else we can do with that station. When we get the jammer pod, then it'll be a tradeoff. 

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Like anything, it depends, but to reiterate what has been said above, the Viper is one of the more economical modules when operated correctly.  Be disciplined with afterburner use, and don't engage if you don't have enough fuel to win the fight.

 

Boyd expected the USAF to use the limited fuel capacity of the F16 (LWF) as a reason to bin the program and expand F15 procurement, but while it is true the F16 carried less fuel, its overall fuel fraction (i.e. fuel as a proportion of total weight) was actually higher than that of the F15.  Boyd kept this card close to his chest, and when as expected the Air Force criticized the F16 for having much less fuel than the F15 the erroneous thinking was pointed out.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Bunny Clark said:

USAF Vipers pretty much run two wing tanks 100% of the time in combat loadouts. Wouldn't be much reason not to take the wing tanks for A/A, since you can't put missiles on those stations. Unless you were planning on getting into a fight very close to your base, which isn't something that really happens to the USAF ever these days. 

 

Right now there isn't much reason not to take a centerline tank other than weight and drag, there isn't much else we can do with that station. When we get the jammer pod, then it'll be a tradeoff. 

 

Not sure about G loadings with empty tank on centerline. I'd love to be educated on this! 🙂 (empty tanks on wing I know)


Edited by deadpool
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Hi.

For the Jettison thing: select A/A or A/G, press the SMS page on the MFD, and the right hand most button is "S-J". Press it, and you will have a representation of your plane. Select the stations you want to jettison with the OSB beside nad press the pikle button. Be awar you will have to enter the mode you were in before the jettison.

Saludos.

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For CAP and SEAD/DEAD missions i usually go for two wing tanks, on ground pounding it depends on how much loadout i need, two wing tanks or only centerline tank, never go with three tanks.

 

Throttle management & high altitude is the key, at first i struggle coming from the Hornet, but now i can fly much much longer (and, if not, theres always a tanker near)

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One of the biggest problem I have with the F-16 is that it has poor fuel endurance. I had several incidences that I'm running low on fuel in the middle of an air to air engagement and having to disengage and RTB because I left the afterburner running for too long (I blame War Thunder for this /s).  I usually run two fuel tanks so I'm wondering whether running three fuel tanks is worth it. Also, how do I when a fuel tank is empty so that I can jettison it?
I never run 3 fuel tanks, mostly in preparation of the upcoming (202X) ECM pod.

Also probably the drag of 3 tanks negates the benefits of additional fuel but i could be wrong.

Generally, I try to fly as sleek as possible for greater range/endurance and speed.

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1 fuel tank: dogfight training since empty C/L is approximately the same as clean without having to jettison the tank like you would do in combat

2 fuel tank: 99% of combat missions, AA and AG

3 fuel tank: can be used for long range ferry

 

Of course there are always exceptions and use what is needed for the mission but above is common. In AA combat it is two tanks when outside of a range and zero tanks when threatened inside that range. Taxpayer will buy more. Goal of most engagements is to win BVR with good positioning which takes 4-5G at most. Tanks stay on.

 

Three tanks means no ALQ which isn't so good. Right now we don't have it. Also drag index is quite high with this configuration. The extra range is rarely worth it especially at higher speeds.  You might have an extra 25% fuel but the drag makes it worth maybe 10% more. At lower economy speeds the extra fuel gives range and the drag increase is not such a big deal.

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