This is one of the coolest images I’ve seen in years: cockpit view as Marines F-18 fires live missile

Jun 01 2013 - 11 Comments

The following image is going viral on social networks.

The reason is obvious: is an absolutely stunning photograph, just released by the U.S. Marine Corps, showing Capt. Christopher Prout with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing as he shoots an AIM-7 Sparrow missile from an F/A-18C Hornet near Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, on May 16, 2013.

VMFA-232 moved to Tyndall for a deployment for training (DFT) used to prepare the squadron for future combat and contingency operations.

F-18 shooting

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

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  • XBradTC

    How often do Hornets carry Sparrows today, instead of an AMRAAM?

  • Lawrence D. Wood

    You have that one right!
    Keep up the good work, Cenciotti!

  • gunnergoz

    Nice HD photo, which detail makes me ask: why is this poor Marine flying with a cracked, beat-up helmet? Surely they can issue him something a bit less decrepit?

    • brotherStefan

      No need to feel sorry for the chap. Look again, and you might notice that it’s tape. Most aviators personalize their helmets using reflective tape.

    • SmacksMcGee

      The pilot might think it is bad luck to change a helmet that has kept him alive so far.
      Like it or not, luck is still a factor, which, ironically, the better you get, the bigger factor it becomes,…for the other guy.

    • MikeyB

      That’s reflective tape, so if he ejects at night, he can be seen in the water.

    • Harwood Farcourt

      Maybe he had a run-in with Crazy Joe Davola.

  • Ronbo

    Only F-18 units still carry/employ the Sparrow. The USAF fired it’s last Sparrow (5 or 6 of them simultaneously BTW and that’s a cooler shot) years ago, does not have the capability to load or maintain, and will no longer employ them. The AMRAAM is (far) superior in almost every aspect except warhead size. Navy/Marine units started deploying to Tyndall several years ago as part of Combat Archer/WSEP to take advantage of the AF infrastructure and analytical capabilities there. A Navy (F-18) project officer is now assigned to the 83rd FWS that runs the WSEP air-air program.

    • I’m old-school, but I still think the Phoenix system the F-14 carried was one of the most awesome AAM systems ever.

  • Will Collier

    Had to be a WSEP (Weapon Systems Evaluation Program) shot. I used to be the “AMRAAM guy” at that unit (83D Fighter Weapons Squadron) back in the 90’s. Lot of good memories there, including seeing missile shots up close, from the back seat of my boss’s F-16.

    Any job where you get to blow up stuff is automatically awesome.

  • ranger01

    Very cool photo.
    The endless war never ends.