Aggressor F-16 Fighting Falcon Looks Scary, Dark Blobs Lurk on the Ground

Aggressor aircraft are meant to be scary. After all, they’re meant to mimic the aggressiveness and tactics of peer and near-peer enemy pilots and planes. But at times, they’re not what catches the eye first.
F-16 Fighting Falcon deployed with the 64th Aggressor Squadron 27 photos
Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Zachary Rufus
F-16 Fighting Falcon deployed with the 64th Aggressor SquadronF-16 Fighting Falcon over JPARCF-16 Fighting Falcon landing at Yokota Air Base, JapanF-16 Fighting Falcons hiding from the rain in South KoreaF-16 Fighting Falcon during aerial refuelingRomanian Air Force F-16 Fighting FalconsFour F-16 Fighting Falcons flying over RomaniaF-16 Fighting Falcon over the Nevada Test and Training RangeF-16 Fighting Falcons chasing KC-135 StratotankerF-16C Fighting FalconF-16 Fighting FalconF-16C Fighting Falcon taking off from New JerseyAggressor Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon taking offRoyal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16F-16 Fighting Falcon in Operation Inherent ResolveF-16 Fighting Falcons over Niceville, Florida
America’s Aggressor program was initiated in the early 1970s, being a response to the high air combat loss rate experienced during the Vietnam War. Some, including Air Force and Navy brass, attributed this loss rate to the lack of dogfighting skills among American pilots, especially when faced with technologically equivalent enemies.

That’s how the idea of a “professional adversary force conducting a program of intense dissimilar air combat training” was born within the ranks of the Air Force. Loaded with the most modern pieces of hardware available, this adversary force, best represented by a team called the 64th Aggressor Squadron, is now regularly conducting training exercises, teaching airmen how to respond, act and react when faced with equally skilled and weaponized adversaries.

The F-16 you see in the main photo of this piece is an Aggressor, and is pictured here as it was flying over the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) in mid-July, during the Red Flag-Nellis 22-3 exercise. Piloted by the 64th Capt. Tim Joubert, the plane looks locked and loaded, and scary as they get for whoever is not ready for it.

But, if you look close enough though, the plane is not the first thing that catches the eye in this pic. If you focus you attention ahead of the flying weapons platform, on the ground, you’ll spot a blob of sorts, a strangely shaped shadow, one that has you thinking at first, as the brain tries to find ways to identify it.

Then, the brain fog lifts, your eyes see more shadows clustered to the north, and it’s then when you realize they are cloud shadows playing around on the surface of the desert.

Just as bening, after all, as the F-16s of the 64th.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows various other F-16s.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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