Key point: America's F-16 has lasted a long time and has been given many upgrades. However, the F-16 might not be as good against the very best that Beijing and Moscow can throw at it.
The F-16 fighter was originally conceived as a lightweight fighter for the United States and her NATO allies. In the U.S. Air Force, the “Fighting Falcon” would comprise the low end of a “high-low” mix of super-capable F-15s and cheaper, less capable F-16s. Among NATO allies, it would be a frontline fighter to replace aging planes like the F-104 and F-15.
Inevitably, the capable little single-engine fighter was pushed towards a more diverse array of missions. Originally conceived as just carrying short-ranged AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, it gained the ability to launch the beyond visual range AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-120 AMRAAM. Over time it gradually evolved into a versatile air-to-ground platform with the ability to accomplish close air support, battlefield air interdiction and air defense suppression missions with a variety of precision-guided missiles, including the AGM-65 Maverick missile, AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missile and Joint Directed Attack Munition precision-guided bomb.