Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Hosts Massive “Moose Walk” With F-22s, E-3s, C-17s, C-130s and C-12Fs

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors, E-3 Sentrys, C-17 Globemaster IIIs, C-130J Herculeses and C-12F Hurons participate in a close formation taxi known as an elephant walk at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 5, 2020. This event displayed the ability of the 3rd Wing, 176th Wing and the 477th Fighter Group to maintain constant readiness throughout COVID-19 by Total Force Integration between active-duty, Guard and Reserve units to continue defending the U.S. homeland and ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathan Valdes Montijo)

The “Moose Walk,” more commonly referred to as an “Elephant Walk,” was so named to pay homage to both Alaska’s unique wildlife and to the C-17 Globemaster III, often nicknamed “The Moose.”

On May 5, 2020, active-duty, Guard and Reserve units at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, hosted a massive “Elephant Walk”: U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors, E-3 Sentrys, C-17 Globemaster IIIs, C-130Js and C-12F Hurons took part in a close formation taxi to display the ability of the 3rd Wing, 176th Wing and the 477th Fighter Group to maintain constant readiness throughout COVID-19 by Total Force Integration.

Though this type of formation is more commonly called an “Elephant Walk,” the JBER version was so named to pay homage to both Alaska’s unique wildlife and to the C-17 Globemaster III, often called “The Moose.”

More in detail: 26x F-22s, 2x C-12Fs, 2x C-130Js, 2x E-3 Sentrys and 3 C-17s took part in the “Moose Walk” as an Alaska ANG HH-60G took some cool aerial shots. This was a significant improvement from last year’s edition when “only” 24x F-22, 1x E-3 and 1x C-17 took part in the Elephant Walk during a Polar Force exercise on Mar. 26, 2019.

According to the U.S. Air Force, the formation was followed by valuable integrated training in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex.

U.S. Air Force aircraft assigned to the 3rd Wing, 176th Wing and the 477th Fighter Group form an elephant walk at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 5, 2020. The large show-of-force demonstrated the wings’ rapid mobility capabilities and response readiness during COVID-19 and also highlighted the ability to generate combat airpower at a moment’s notice to ensure regional stability throughout the North American Aerospace Defense Command Region and Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily Farnsworth)

3rd Wing’s F-22s and E-3s often team up during QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) launches triggered by Russian long-range bombers or spyplanes flying in the vicinity of the Alaskan ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone). In QRA configuration, the F-22 carry underwing tanks (as done during the “Moose Walk”): LO (Low Observability) is not required to conduct peacetime VIDs (Visual Identifications) so the stealth jets use transponders, radar reflectors/luneburg lenses and carry external loads that exaggerate their radar cross section and hide their actual radar signature to the AEW (Airborne Early Warning) aircraft and spyplanes supporting the Russian Tu-95s, Tu-142s and Il-38N on their long range training missions in international airspace.



About David Cenciotti 4074 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.