Posts tagged ‘F-16 Fighting Falcon’

FRIDAY FOTO (October 7, 2022)

MEET “VENOM”

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kayla Christenson) Click on photo to enlarge image.

An F-16 Fighting Falcon — part of the Viper Demonstration Team from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina — lines up with a KC-135 Stratotanker for aerial refueling 0n September 29, 2022.

Air Combat Command’s Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) performs precision aerial maneuvers to demonstrate the unique capabilities of the F-16 multi-role fighter at about 20 air shows annually.

One of the most versatile aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory, the F-16 Fighting Falcon has been the mainstay of the Air Force aerial combat fleet. With over 1,000 F-16s in service, the platform has been adapted to complete a number of missions, including air-to-air fighting, ground attack and electronic warfare, according to Military.com.

Introduced in 2020 with its unique snake scales livery across the body of the aircraft  the F-16 in this photo, named “Venom” carries the VDT’s signature black and yellow colors — including yellow snake eyes — from nose to tail.

October 7, 2022 at 3:15 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 21, 2022)

Optical Illusion.

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Charles Givens)

No, nothing is spinning in this photo. It just seems that way.

And it’s not the insides of a wooden barrel or a huge empty wine cask. It’s actually the inside of a fighter jet engine.

Air Force Technical Sergeant Justin St Thomas inspects the liner of an F-16 Fighting Falcon jet engine for cracks, bulges and blemishes at the Morris Air National Guard base in Tucson, Arizona on January 9, 2022.

Click on the photo to enlarge the image.

January 21, 2022 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 12, 2021)

Making Some History.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sergeant Vernon Young Jr.)

When we first saw a smaller version of this photo, we thought there’s something different about these pilots. When we clicked on the image to enlarge it (which we hope you will do), we saw why it was so unique.

These female fighter pilots assigned to the 36th and 25th Fighter Squadrons were about to fly a historic all-female flight at Osan Air Base, South Korea on October 25, 2021. The benchmark flight was the first time at Osan AB that 10 female Airmen planned, led and flew in a formation together.

Eight of the pilots were A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots and two were F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots.

It’s rare for a squadron to launch a formation of pilots who all happen to be female. Not only were there women flying the A-10s and F-16s, but an all-female weather team briefed the pilots prior to stepping to the aircraft. Female Airmen planned and executed the entire process from radio communication inside the air traffic control tower to the crew chief marshaling the aircraft on the ground. The team effort showcased the ability that women have to lead in every facet from planning to mission execution, according to the Air Force.

On April 28, 1993, when former Secretary of Defense Les Aspin ordered military services to allow women to fly in combat, there was no timetable of how soon the world would see the percentages of female fighter pilots increase.

Today, almost 30 years later, there are only 103 female fighter pilots across the U.S. Air Force 11F (fighter pilot) career field. That means the pilots who flew jointly in that all-female formation sortie at the 51st Fighter Wing, constituted 10 percent of the service’s female fighter jocks. Click here to see the full story.

For more photos of this event, click here.

November 12, 2021 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 8, 2021)

Loaded Up and Truckin’

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Antwain Hanks)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the U.S. Air Force 35th Fighter Wing is positioned on the flight line waiting to take off during Exercise Beverly Sunrise 21-08 at Misawa Air Base, Japan on September 22, 2021.

The exercise allowed airmen to test their Agile Combat Employment (ACE) and Multi-Capable Airmen (MCA) skills by expanding the scope of tasks pilots, ground crews, safety, security, medical and other personnel can complete to recover and relaunch aircraft rapidly from a simulated austere location.

October 8, 2021 at 1:09 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 20, 2021)

Viva Las Vegas!

(U.S. Air Force photo by William R. Lewis)

An F-16C Falcon fighter jet assigned to the 64th Aggressor Squadron, taxis prior take-off at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, on August 4, 2021. Nellis is located on the northeast edge of Las Vegas, and lights from some the city’s iconic hotels and casinos can be seen in the background.

This aircraft was about to join Exercise Red Flag at Nellis as a simulated enemy aircraft. Unlike iterations 1 and 2, Red Flag 21-3 only involves U.S. personnel. Alongside the U.S. Air Force, Red Flag-Nellis 21-3 included the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Space Force, Air National Guard and the U.S. Air Force Reserves.

Aggressor pilots are highly skilled in U.S. and adversary tactics. They provide realism to U.S. and allied forces during training exercises.

August 20, 2021 at 1:23 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 13, 2020)

Somewhere Over Asia.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sergeant Joey Swafford)

Refueling a fighter jet in the air is tough enough in daylight, but imagine how hard it must be to do at night.

We picked this photo because of the unusual scenery below these two aircraft. And since the official caption merely says the photo was taken over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, we doubt if they’ll share much more information about those brilliantly-lit geometric shapes on the ground.

U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (Image. Central Command)

This photo shows a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon receiving fuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker on November 4, 2020.

November 14, 2020 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 1, 2020)

On a Clear Day …

USAF Thunderbirds & USN Blue Angels Perform America Strong Flyover

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cory W. Bush)

The U.S. Air Force and Navy flight demonstration squadrons, the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels, fly over New York City as part of “America Strong,” a joint effort from the Navy and the Air Force to salute health care workers, first responders, service members and other essential personnel on the front-line in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The contrails of the Thunderbirds‘ F-16 Fighting Falcon jets are on the lower right side of the photo as the Air Force team heads up the East River toward the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

The Blue Angels and their F-18 Hornet aircraft are visible on the upper left side of the photo, heading up the Hudson River above the west side of Manhattan Island. Off to the left, lies New Jersey, which has also been hit very hard by the coronavirus.

Some critics have said the money it costs to fly these very expensive aircraft could be better spent ON those front-line health warriors — paying for more masks, gloves and other personal protection equipment. But apparently, at least some were thrilled at the sight (see photo below).

Your 4GWAR editor sees merit in both sides of the issue, but we also like seeing a bird’s eye view of our hometown on an incredibly clear day, April 28.

Blue Angels and Thunderbirds joint flyover, New Jersey

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Specialist Michael Schwenk)

New Jersey National Guardsmen and medical personnel wave and snap photos as the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds fly over University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey on  April 28, 2020.

May 1, 2020 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment

Robots, ‘droids & Drones: Drone Strike Kills Iranian General; Saudi, U.S. Counter Drone Research

Drone Shot heard ’round the World.

Armed MQ-9 Reaper drone over Afghanistan

An MQ-9 Reaper, armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, flies over southern Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Pratt)

Tensions grew in the Middle East and around the world last week after a U.S. Air Force drone attack near the Baghdad airport early Friday (January 3) killed Iran’s most powerful security and intelligence commander — Major General Qassem Soleimani.

Missiles fired from a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper blew up the Soleimani’s convoy as it departed the airport. The general was the longtime leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, the foreign-facing branch of the country’s powerful security apparatus, according to the New York Times.

He worked closely with Iraqi and Lebanese allies, nurturing proxy forces to form a Shiite axis of power throughout the region. His profile rose amid the fight to prop up President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and later the fight against the Islamic State, the Times noted.

President Donald Trump said he ordered the killing of the Iranian general “to stop a war,” not start one, but in the tense aftermath the Pentagon braced for retaliation by sending more troops to the Middle East, the Associated Press reported. Democrats in Congress and numerous leaders around the world — especially American allies in Europe and Middle East worried that the strike made war more likely.

In Baghdad, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi condemned the American drone strike, which also killed an Iraqi general who was deputy commander of the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, the AP noted.

The Reaper — a remotely piloted aircraft in Air Force parlance — is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance drone that is primarily an attack aircraft but it also can perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well as close air support, combat search and rescue and convoy or raid overwatch.

The Reaper is a bigger, more powerful version of the MQ-1 Predator drone, which it replaced in July 2017. Both aircraft are manufactured by California-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

America’s use of weaponized drones began after 9/11, expanded during Barack Obama’s presidency and appears to have increased further still under Trump, according to Britain’s Guardian newspaper. In March 2019, Trump revoked the Obama-era policy which required intelligence officials to disclose the number of people killed in drone strikes on terrorist targets outside war zones, according to NBC News.

On Thursday (January 9), the House of Representatives approved a war powers resolution with a vote of 224-194 that calls for limiting the White House’s ability to direct combat actions against Iran. Three only Republicans crossed party lines to vote in favor of the resolution, which now goes to the Senate, CNN reported.

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Saudi Counter Drone System.

Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) is working on a new national counter-dronesystem, according Defense News.  The new system — under development with international partners – seeks to address asymmetric threats to the country and protect critical infrastructure and domestic military bases.

Drone swarms and low-altitude cruise missiles attacked Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities in September. The current air defense systems were unable to stop the assault.

The new system is in the testing stage and is expected to be rolled out in the near term, said SAMI’s chief executive officer, Andreas Schwer.  told Defense News. The C-drone system will have the options to thwart all types of drones from very small ones to the professional militarized threats, he added.

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F-16 Shoots Down Drone.

An Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet recently shot down a targeting test drone, successfully demonstrating shooting a small drone at low altitudes, Air Force Magazine reports.

12232019-F-16-APKWS-test

(Screenshot from U.S. Air Force video by 1st Lieutenant Savanah Bray)

The 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, conducted the December 19 test. The AGR-20A Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System laser-guided rocket was originally developed for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as a low-cost, low-collateral weapon. By adapting the rocket for cruise missile defense, it can serve the same role as the much more expensive AIM-120 missile, according to the Air Force release.

“The test was unprecedented and will shape the future of how the Air Force executes CMD [counter missile defense],” said Colonel Ryan Messer, commander of the 53d Wing at Eglin.

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FAA, FBI Investigate Drone Swarms.

Speaking of shooting down drones, law enforcement agencies in Colorado and Nebraska  warned residents — alarmed and annoyed by mysterious swarms of drones flying at night — that shooting a drone out of the sky would be a crime, the New York Times reports.

Since mid-December, sheriff’s departments in the border area of the three states have been flooded with at least 30 reports of nighttime drone sightings, according to CBS News. Groups of a dozen or more machines, sometimes flying in formation, have been reported. The FBI, Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Air Force have been called to investigate the drone swarms. While there is a lot of speculation, no one seems to know who owns or has been operating them, according to the Times.

The sightings come just as the FAA has announced new regulations that would make it easier for law enforcement to identify and track drones.

January 9, 2020 at 11:35 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 23, 2019)

Fire Wall.

2019 Sioux Falls Airshow

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Duane Duimstra)

Don’t be alarmed, it’s supposed to look like this.

Exploding fireballs are part of the script during the Sioux Falls Air Show in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on August 18, 2019. In the foreground, a pair of F-16s from the Air Force’s flight demonstration team, the Thunderbirds, stand parked on the tarmac. Closer to the action is an iconic Army UH-1 “Huey” helicopter participating in a Vietnam combat search and rescue of a downed pilot re-enactment.

August 23, 2019 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: Women’s History Month 2019, Part I

Women in the Air Force.

Today and for the next three Sundays in March, 4GWAR will feature photo essays illustrating the contributions of women in the four armed services. For the most part the pictures do not recall historic firsts or heroines of the past. Instead, they focus on women doing their jobs — some difficult or dangerous — but all essential to keeping the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps ready to defend the United States of America. This week we look at the Air Force.

Displaying the Colors

(Photo by Army Specialist Dana Clarke)

There’s more to the U.S. Air Force than airplanes, helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft. It’s also people, missions and traditions. Here’s one example: an airman first class, participating in a multi-service honor guard, carries the Air Force flag during a Presidents’ Day wreath-laying ceremony at Mount Vernon in Virginia on February 19, 2019.

WOMEN AIR FORCE ID

(Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Darnell T. Cannady)

The missions can be big or small. Most Air Force vehicles — whether they fly in the sky or travel on the ground — need wheels to get around when they are earthbound. Here see Airman 1st Class Sarah Derringer (left) and Airman 1st Class Mia Duran work on a vehicle wheel at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates on February 11, 2019.

56th Fighter Wing Quarterly Load Crew Competition

(Air Force photo by Senior Airman Caleb Worpel)

Airman Amanda Knutson prepares an inert bomb for loading onto an F-35A Lightning II the newest, Fifth Generation multi-role jet fighter at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona on January 10, 2019.

Airmen de-arm F-16 during base readiness exercise

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

The original Air Force caption for this photo was all about the pilot, his squadron, the 52nd Fighter Wing and their base at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany during a base-wide readiness exercise in  September 2018. But as one can see in this photo, the ground crew that keeps this F-16 Fighting Falcon flying is made up of female airmen.

WOMEN AIR FORCE ID4

(Air Force photo by Major Ray Geoffroy)

Now here’s another F-16 pilot, Captain Michelle “Mace” Curran, a member of the Thunderbirds, the Air Force flight demonstration team. Only the fourth female pilot in the aerobatic team’s history, she’s seen here preparing for the final training sorties of 2018 at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Staff Sergeant Bernadette Kroondyk, whose name appears just below the cockpit, is an avionics systems technician whose duties include inspecting, removing, installing and checking out aviation electronic systems on the Thunderbirds’ F-16s.

Enduring Promise

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Gregory Brook)

Captain Susan Jennie is a pilot on  much bigger plane, the C-17 Globemaster III.  She was part of a team that delivered humanitarian aid, intended for economically wracked Venezuela to South America. Three C-17s flew from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida, to Cucuta, Colombia in February. Tons of aid was airlifted to the Colombian town on the Venezuelan border as part of an effort to help the Venezuelan people during their humanitarian and political crisis.

386th ESFS demonstrates K-9 capability at MWD Expo

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Robert Cloys)

Air Force Staff Sergeant Samantha Gassner stands with Lloren, a patrol and explosive detector dog, during a military working dog expo at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, on December 27, 2018. Most of the U.S. military dogs used for security patrolling and drug and explosives detection are trained at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

MTIs Molding BMT Flights

(U.S. Air Force photo by Sarayuth Pinthong)

The photo above shows Air Force Staff Sergeant Brooke Held, 324th Training Squadron instructor, and her basic training flight practicing for a graduation parade ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio, December 12, 2018. The Air Force Military Training Instructor plays a role similar to drill instructors in the Army and Marine Corps. Like their male counterparts, female MTIs wear a distinctive wide-brimmed hat. Joint Base San Antonio includes the Army’s Fort Sam Houston and Lackland and Randolph Air Force bases. Lackland is also the basic training base for Air Force recruits.

Celebration of the life and legacy of Maj. Gen. Marcelite Harris

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Rusty Frank)

One trailblazer we’d like to mention in this post is Major General Marcelite J. Harris, who passed away last fall. At her retirement in 1997, General Harris was the highest ranking female officer in the Air Force and the highest-ranking African American woman in the entire Defense Department.

Her other accomplishments included being the first woman aircraft maintenance officer, one of the first two women air officers commanding at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the first woman deputy commander for maintenance. She also served as a White House aide during the Carter administration.

The photo above shows General Harris’ son, Lieutenant Colonel Steven Harris, kneeling at his mother’s gravesite after her funeral with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on February 7, 2019.

BDS strengthens airfield security capabilities

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erick Requadt)

This last photo shows airmen preparing to exit an HC-130J Combat King II — a specialized transport aircraft — during airfield security training at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia on January 28, 2019. The  HC-130J is the Air Force’s only fixed-wing aircraft dedicated to recovering personnel in difficult circumstances and it’s flown by Air Combat Command. This C-130J variation specializes in avoiding detection in tactical operations and recovery operations in austere environments.

We will be posting similar looks at women in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Look for them on the next three Sundays in March, Women’s History Month.

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.west point cadets.pdfSHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

 

March 14, 2019 at 8:46 pm Leave a comment

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