From the combat pilot’s point of view: mission over Afghanistan

Oct 20 2013 - 6 Comments

The following video gives a hint of what a standard day of pilot deployed in Afghanistan looks like: high performance takeoff with an armed plane (in this case an F-16C belonging to the 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard), rendez-vous with a KC-135 for an aerial refueling at dusk, combat air patrol before RTB (Return To Base) to Bagram.

Noteworthy: the beginning of the video doesn’t show the departure of the Viper from Bagram Air Field. Instead, it seems to show a fast low passage over the airport.

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  • Ocke

    Why AIM-120 Amraams on the wingtips using up hangtime over Afghanistan where the aerial threat is zero? Shouldn’t AIM-9s do the job?

  • VFA41_Lion

    What’s really cool is you can see everything the pilot does in the cockpit from the visor reflection, including the heads up display.

  • Fred

    Why do these jets carry air-to-air missiles in uncontested airspace? Seems like a lot of wear on sensitive equipment.

  • Kirk66

    Departure looks like a normal takeoff. You wouldn’t do a low pass in a combat zone with live weapons loaded.

  • kqn

    They probably carry amraams in case there is an unplanned encounter with Pakistani JF17 (it would not be the first time our so called ally shoots at our troops) or Iranian F14 (in which case I do not know how an amraam will fare against older AIM54)?

  • Patrick

    From what I understand the F-16 is actually more aerodynamic when carrying wingtip missiles, as the missiles basically act as winglets.

    Also, I think since the attack on Pearl Harbor pretty much all U.S aircraft operating overseas – especially in combat zones – carry some form of air-to-air armament “just in case”.