Multi-Function Display

F-16 MFDs
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Cockpit art courtesy of Cockpits.nl

A multi-function display is a computer-screen like device mounted on the instrument panel of the aircraft. Modern aircraft generally have one or more MFDs, which are used to display everything from radar to weapon stores to navigation information. MFDs are surrounded by a group of buttons known as OSBs, which allow the pilot to change the information displayed on the MFD or control the aircraft's systems.

Modern aircraft use MFDs instead of old-style analog gauges and switches because the MFD can display any information in any format, limited only by the aircraft's software. Older MFDs displayed information only in monochrome black/white or black/green, while new-style MFDs can display information in full color.

The MFDs of the F-16 are closely modeled in Falcon. It is necessary to understand their operation in order to be a competent pilot.

Basic Operation

The MFD is divided up into "pages", which can be selected and viewed at any time. Each page is like a miniature web site - it has a main page, which displays the most important information, and subpages which display more specific information or are used to access individual functions. For example, the SMS (stores management system) page has a main page showing the total inventory of the aircraft's weapons, as well as multiple sub-pages which display information about individual weapons systems.

Each MFD page has its own OSB configuration. However, the five OSBs on the bottom of the screen are the same for (almost) all MFD pages. The far left button on the bottom row is labeled SWAP - when pressed, it will switch the pages displayed on the MFD (so, for example, if you have the SMS displayed on the right hand MFD and your FCR (fire control radar) displayed on the left hand MFD, after you press SWAP the SMS will be on the left MFD and the FCR will be on the right MFD). The far right button is marked DCLT on most pages. This stands for "declutter", and can be used to remove non-essential information to make the page easier to read.

The three OSBs in the center of the bottom row are like a "quick-menu" which you can use to quickly access the pages you are most interested in. Each button has a page associated with it. To bring up that page, press the button, and the MFD will immediately switch to that page. You can also cycle between your three selected pages on each MFD using the DMS hat switch - press left to change the left MFD, and right to change the right MFD. You can change which page is associated with each OSB by clicking the button to bring up its page, and then clicking it again. This brings up the menu screen, as shown below. To associate a new MFD page with the selected OSB, press the button corresponding to the page you want to use.

MFD Menu Operation
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MFD Page List

This table shows a list of the MFD pages available, with a short description of their purpose. Most MFD pages also have a page dedicated to their operation.

Abbreviation Name Description
BLANK Blank Page This is the page displayed when there is nothing else selected. It is simply a black screen with the word BLANK displayed in the middle. There's not really any reason to ever have this selected.
HUD HUD Repeater This page displays an identical copy of what is displayed on your Heads Up Display (HUD). This can be useful if your HUD becomes damaged or inoperable. This page has no OSBs - to return to the main menu, press the farthest left OSB on the top row.
RWR RWR Repeater This is similar to the HUD page - it displays an exact copy of what is displayed on your Radar Warning Receiver (RWR). Just like the HUD page, you need to click on the left OSB on the top row to return to the main menu.
RCCE Recon Camera Page This page is used in conjunction with the RCCE reconnaisance pod.
RESET MENU System Reset Page This page is used to reset various systems to their default state. In most versions of Falcon, the page is accessible but clicking on the OSBs will not do anything, since the systems deal mostly with night visibility.
SMS Stores Management System This page is used to manage your aircraft's stores (i.e., the weapons and other equipment you have attached to your wings and fuselage). This is one of the most complicated pages.
HSD Horizontal Situation Display Next to the FCR, this is arguable the most important MFD page. It displays a moving map of the current situation around you, including your navigational course and the positions of friendly and enemy aircraft.
DTE Data Upload Page Real F-16s use a data cartridge to load mission information to the airplane's computers. Thankfully, Falcon takes care of this detail for you, so this page is accessible but not implemented.
TEST Built-In Test Page This page contains a number of built-in tests (BITs) that you can perform on your aircraft's systems. It can also be used to access information about system faults that occur while you are flying.
FLCS Flight Control System Page This page is labeled as the flight control system (FLCS) page, but it does not appear to be implemented.
FLIR Forward Looking Infrared Camera Page This partially-implemented page allows you to control some properties of the Forward Looking InfraRed (FLIR) pod.
TFR Terrain Following Radar This page allows you to control your Terrain Following Radar (TFR), an autopilot mode which allows the autopilot to fly the aircraft very close to the ground.
WPN Weapon System Page This page displays information from the targeting system of the currently selected weapon, if applicable. For example, if you have a Maverick selected, you will see the image from the infrared camera on this page.
TGP Targeting Page This page is similar the WPN page, but is used for Laser Guided Bombs (LGBs) and Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs). The camera for this page is mounted on the aircraft, instead of on the weapon you are firing.
FCR Fire Control Radar This MFD page is used to control your air-to-air and air-to-ground radars. Understanding how to use this page is crucial to your survival as a fighter pilot.

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