General Dynamics began producing the F-16 multi-role combat aircraft in 1976. General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation (now know as Lockheed Martin).
The IAF acquired the F-16 in 1980, following a decision by the U.S. to sell the aircraft to Israel, against the backdrop of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

Eight F-16s took part in Operation Opera in 1981, during which the IAF destroyed completely destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor.

IAF F-16s recorded their first aerial kills during the First Lebanon War in 1982, shooting down numerous Syrian aircraft.