Despite the COVID-19 Crisis, Polish Air Force F-16s Continue Intensive Flight Training Activities

A Polish Vipers about to land at Krzesiny AB carrying an ELGTR. (All images: Author).

Polish Vipers Also Carried ELGTR (Enhanced Laser Guided Training Round)

Here are some shots of the Polish F-16 jets engaged in training activities at the Polish Krzesiny AB on May 7, 2020.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and although the country has been subjected to lockdown measures, as happening in the rest of the world, the Air Force continues its training activities. “Business as usual” more or less. The flights at Krzesiny AB began in the afternoon and continued into the night. In compliance with the social distancing rules imposed by the Government, we took an opportunity to do some spotting outside the base.

Notably, most of the aircraft involved in flying yesterday were carrying some interesting loadouts. One unusual thing was the presence of the Lockheed Martin ELGTR (Enhanced Laser Guided Training Round) units under the wings of two of the jets. ELGTR is a training munition that provides realistic Paveway II training without a need to use operational assets. In spite of its different shape, the inert bomb accurately emulates the LGB (Laser Guided Bomb) envelope and flight profile, along with the guidance system. It carries no explosive load, thus allowing the crews to train employment of the GBU-10/12/16 cost-effectively. Some jets also carried Mk 82 inerts and inert Mavericks, Sniper-XR targeting pods, CATM-120 training missiles, and we could have seen ACMI pods on all airframes.

Two F-16s overhead for the break.
A two-seater about to stabilize on final. It carries, among the others, an inert AGM-65.

According to Lockheed Martin, the company has sold over 180,000 units to the U.S. Navy and international customers. Although these might be common in some other countries and was spotted on Polish F-16s since 2018, this was the first time this author witnessed ELGTR under the wing of a Polish Viper. By the way, the number of jets flying yesterday was relatively high – higher than usual – which may be a symptom of increased airframe availability.

It seems that after a period of rumoured stagnancy, with a low number of airframes being flightworthy due to the spare parts shortage reported by the Polish media last year, things are going back to normal at last.

About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.