Some readers of this blog sent me comments and emails after I published the article about the “insane” line up at Seymour Johnson AFB on Apr. 16. Although almost everyone was impressed by the amount of fighters (with inert armament) on the runway, someone thought it was nothing more than a “useless show of force” since aircraft (in their opinion) did not take off.
Actually, the main difference between the Kunsan airbase “Elephant Walk” (made of 60 U.S. and South Korea’s F-16s) and the one performed by nearly 70 F-15Es at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., is that (number of aircraft aside), in the first case, the aircraft were armed with live ordnance hence did not take off (they just taxied down the runway); in the the second one, the 4th FW launched about 70 sorties to virtually destroy 1,000 mock targets across the state!
Here’s a video showing the Strike Eagles taxiing down the runway and then take off in sequence.
Indeed “Mustang Mayhem 2012” (that’s the name of the 4th FW exercise) was a show of force. But, just like Operation Chimichanga, it was also a way to validate procedures used for mass launches.
Once again: “train as you fight, fight as you train”.
- Photo: nearly 70 F-15E Strike Eagles in largest Elephant Walk to date. (theaviationist.com)
- Sixty F-16s taxiing at Kunsan air base in one of the greatest show of force ever: that’s a record-breaking Elephant Walk! (theaviationist.com)
- F-15E Strike Eagle that destroyed a flying Iraqi Mi-24 reaches 10,000 logged flying hours. Over Afghanistan. (theaviationist.com)
- Nellis AFB Strike Eagles: the 17th Weapons Squadron’s F-15Es at work (theaviationist.com)