Tag Archives: F-16

F-16 Special Paint Scheme Commemorates D-Day Invasion and P-47 Thunderbolts.

Look at this Beautiful 70th Anniversary USAF F-16 from the Texas Air National Guard.

Special paint schemes on combat aircraft are common enough now that it is impossible to report on them all, but this beautiful F-16C (Block 30) from the 149th Fighter Wing of the Texas Air National Guard stands out for a few reasons.

This single seat F-16C, flown by USAF Colonel Timothy J. Madden, Commanding Officer of the 149th Fighter Wing, Texas Air National Guard, wears a new paint scheme for the upcoming 70th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force later this year on Sept. 18. The aircraft was first photographed at the U.S. Air National Guard Aircraft Paint Facility in Sioux City, Iowa on May 26, 2017.

Nose of the new special color.

The tail of the 149th FW “special”

The aircraft is painted to mimic the livery of a Republic P-47D Thunderbolt from 1944. Interestingly, this is well before the U.S. Air Force was started and U.S. combat aircraft flew under the Army Air Corps, then a part of the U.S. Army.

The 149th Fighter Wing holds a number of significant firsts in Air Force history including the first unit to perform midair refueling during a combat mission and the first Air National Guard unit to shoot down a MiG in combat. Both of these firsts happened during the Korean conflict.

The original P-47D’s that provided inspiration for the new heritage markings on the 149th FW F-16C. (Photo: US Army)

As with the P-47D Thunderbolt from 1944 it is patterned after, not only does this F-16C wear the bright yellow markings but also the striking black and white “invasion stripes” painted on all allied aircraft in the days just prior to the D-Day invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944. The black and white invasion stripes were a way for gunners both in the air and on the ground to avoid friendly fire incidents. In 2015 the Royal Air Force painted invasion stripes on a Typhoon based at RAF Coningsby to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The special livery on this F-16C is likely to become popular with aviation photographers since it is highly visible in most lighting conditions, even overcast, and the distinctive mix of invasion stripes and yellow squadron regalia can be seen from any angle. No matter which flight attitude the aircraft is in, it remains highly recognizable.

This is not the first time a USAF F-16 has worn invasion stripes to commemorate a P-47 unit from WWII. Back in 2014, F-16 aircraft number 84-1264 was given an orange tail and invasion stripe heritage paint scheme to honor the 358th Fighter Group of WWII. The F-16’s modern unit, the 122nd Fighter Wing, traces its back to this unit in WWII. The original 358th FG flew P-47s and operated in Europe before and after D-Day.

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind., — A specially painted F-16 from the 122nd Fighter Wing from the Indiana Air National Guard based out of Fort Wayne, Ind., pulls away from the boom following an aerial refueling with a Grissom KC-135R Stratotanker. The F-16 is designated as a ‘Heritage Bird’ and is painted to pay homage to the 122nd FW’s history. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Doug Hays)

While no official word has been seen about airshow appearances by this aircraft, it will hopefully be seen at airshows throughout the summer in Texas and around the region in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force.

New Video Shows Close Encounter Between NATO F-16 And Su-27 Flanker Escorting Russian Defense Minister Plane Over The Baltic

Exciting moments over the Baltic Sea as a Polish F-16 shadows a Russian VIP plane sparking the reaction by an escorting Su-27 Flanker.

Zvezda has just released some interesting footage allegedly showing a NATO F-16 approaching Russian Defense Ministry Sergei Shoigu’s plane while flying over the Baltic Sea.

According to the first reports and analysis of the footage, the F-16 (most probably a Polish Air Force Block 52+ aircraft supporting the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from Lithuania – hence, armed) shadowed the Tu-154 aircraft (most probably the aircraft with registration RA-85686) carrying the defense minister en route to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad when one armed Russian Su-27 Flanker escorting Shoigu’s plane maneuvered towards the NATO aircraft, forcing it to move farther.

Some minutes later, the F-16 left the area, according to the reports.

Similar close encounters occur quite frequently in the Baltic region.

We have published many articles in the past about Russian aircraft coming quite close to both NATO fighters in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duty and U.S. spyplanes: indeed, the latest incident comes a day after the Russian defense ministry said an RC-135 U.S. reconnaissance plane had aggressively and dangerously maneuvered in the proximity of a Russian fighter jet over the Baltic. The ministry said at the same time that another RC-135 had been intercepted by a Russian jet in the same area.

Business as usual….

H/T Lasse Holm for sending this over to us.

 

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In other news, a U.S. F-16 has dropped an inert B61-12 nuclear bomb over Nevada last month

B-61 inert nuclear gravity bomb has passed first F-16 flight test.

On Mar. 14, an F-16 from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nevada, dropped a B61-12 over the Nellis Test and Training Range Complex in the first test use of the upgraded B61 with the F-16 aircraft.

The B61-12 represent the latest LEP (Life-Extention Program) upgrade to the B61 line of nuclear weapons that has already been extensively tested with the F-15E Strike Eagles of the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, back in 2015.

The Life Extension Program or LEP, will replace the B61 -3, -4, -7, and -10 mods, with the -12 that, along with the B83, will become the only remaining gravity delivered nukes in the inventory.

“The B61-12 gravity bomb ensures the current capability for the air-delivered leg of the U.S. strategic nuclear triad well into the future for both bombers and dual-capable aircraft supporting NATO,” said Paul Waugh, AFNWC’s Air-Delivered Capabilities director in a U.S. Air Force release dated Apr. 13 (more or less when the world learned about the first use of the famous MOAB in Afghanistan). The B61-12 will be compatible with the B-2A, B-21, F-15E, F-16C/D, F-16 MLU, F-35 and PA-200 aircraft.

The LEP increases the B61’s accuracy so much that it will have the same capability against hardened targets as the much more powerful weapons it is replacing.

More than 60 combat aircraft from eight NATO nations take part in Exercise Frisian Flag in the Netherlands

Frisian Flag 2017 was a large scale exercise organised by the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

From Mar. 27 to Apr. 7, Leeuwarden Air Base in the Netherlands hosted the tactical aircraft taking part in Ex. Frisian Flag 2017.

The purpose of the drills was preparing the participating units for a modern conflict or crisis support operation by strengthening cooperation between air arms of multiple NATO countries called to undertake joint training missions twice a day.

Whilst Leeuwarden in the north of the Netherlands, hosted the “tacair”, the supporting tankers (French Air Force C-135FR, Italian Air Force KC-767A, German Air Force A-310MRTT and RNlAF KDC-10) were based at Eindhoven airport in the south, with a NATO E-3 AWACS flying from Geilenkirchen, Germany, and a French AF E-3D from Avord, France.

Special Viper BAF

Portuguese F-16 about to land

The two-week long drills saw the assets split into two teams: the “Red Force”, that included the RAF Tornado GR4s and the French Mirage 2000s, and the “Blue Force” made of the Florida ANG F-15s, the Eurofighter Typhoons, as well as F-16s from Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands.

RNlAF F-16 on final

A 31 Sqn Tornado GR4

FAF Mirage 2000

According to the RAF 31 Sqn that posted a short debrief after returning from the drills, missions flown during Frisian Flag included air defense, protection of other aircraft and attacking of ground targets on land and sea in a high threat environment, which included opposing fighter aircraft and ground based Patriot and SA-6 missile batteries.

Four ship about to break for the downwind leg

GAF Typhoon special tail

Photographers at work at Leeuwarden

All the images in this post were taken at Leeuwarden airbase by photographer Estelle Calleja.

A Dutch Viper in final

RNlAF F-16 during the base turn

Image credit: Estelle Calleja

Many U.S. pilots wore a traditional red “Santa” hat while flying over Iraq on Christmas Day.

U.S. F-16 pilots flying on Dec. 25, celebrated Christmas Day wearing a Santa Hat.

It’s probably a tradition, still you won’t find too many pictures of fighter pilots wearing a Santa Hat on their flight helmet while joining the tanker for AAR (Air-to-Air Refueling) during a combat mission.

According to the U.S. Air Force, “many pilots wore a traditional red “Santa” hat while flying on Christmas Day,” in support of Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Those in this post were taken from a KC-10 Extender over Iraq on Dec. 25, 2016, and they show F-16 belonging to the 134th Fighter Squadron of the Vermont ANG (Air National Guard) based at Burlington, VT, known as “The Green Mountain Boys.”

This ANG squadron, flying F-16C/D Block 30s is part of the 158th Fighter Wing, and will be the first ANG group to operate the F-35.

The top image is noteworthy because it shows an interesting load out made of an air-to-air complement for air intercepts with tanks for extended range, as well as a LITENING targeting pod and SDB (Small Diameter Bombs.)

The GBU-39 SDB is a small 250-lb multipurpose, insensitive, penetrating bomb with a blast-fragmentation warhead for stationary targets. It is equipped with deployable wings for extended standoff range that open upon release allowing the GPS-guided bomb to glide for several miles before hitting the target with accuracy: launched at high-speed from high altitude it can travel for as much as 50 miles, allowing the attack plane (be it an F-16, F-15E or AC-130W, the largest aircraft to carry this kind of weapon) to remain outside the range of most SAM (Surface-to-Air Missile) batteries.

As we have already reported here, among the Lessons Learned of the Air War in Libya, there was the need to employ SDBs to improve accuracy from distance and reduce collateral damage.

Back to the Santa Hat, in August 2015, a post about a lace-trimmed ejection seat headrest cover in a North Korean MiG-29 Fulcrum generated a pretty interesting comment thread about non-standard/non-fire retardant things in the cockpit….

An F-16 Fighting Falcon receives fuel from a KC-10 Extender over Iraq, Dec. 25, 2016. Many pilots wore a traditional red “Santa” hat while flying on Christmas Day. F-16s are providing precision guided close air support during Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, a multinational effort to weaken and destroy Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant operations in the Middle East region and around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo | Senior Airman Tyler Woodward)

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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