Officially named Fighting Falcon, the plane got rechristened Viper by its pilots, on account of several reasons, starting from a resemblance some of them see with the namesake snake, and ending with pilots wanting to feel like the ones flying Battlestar Galactica’s Colonial Viper starfighter.
Despite its age, and the fact that there are so many of them out there, the F-16 still manages to impress every time it shows up. And if a skilled photographer is on deck to capture from very close in the air, the effect is even more exciting.
This is what happened back in June during the Red Flag-Alaska 21-2 exercise, where 1,500 pilots and crew took to the sky in various airplanes. The main pic of this piece (click to enlarge) was taken back then by Airman 1st Class Mario Calabro and published last week by the Air Force.
What you’re looking at is an F-16 Fighting Falcon deployed with an unspecified unit, wearing a viper-like camo. The plane is seen as it is getting in position for air refueling after “an air-combat maneuvering sortie over Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex.” It still has weapons attached to its hardpoints.
The F-16 is capable of reaching speeds of Mach 2 and can fly for as much as 2,620 miles (4,217 km). It took part in pretty much all the wars we’re familiar with, from the Iraq and Balkan conflicts of the early 1990s to the more recent ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.