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.