The unit is one that specializes in acting as sparring partners for other American pilots. It fields about 30 F-16 Fighting Falcons, and a good chunk of them are wearing the colors of enemy or perceived-as-enemy nations, including (or especially) those of the Russian Federation, for training purposes.
Kind of like the one we have here, pictured over the Nevada Test and Training Range in February last year, and recently made public by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) as part of its Year in Photos coverage.
The plane was captured by the Nikon camera handled by an Airman 1st Class as the F-16s of the Red Team were getting ready to refuel from the tanker planes flown by the 906th Air Refueling Squadron.
The F-16 was deemed as a worthy make-believe adversary on account of its many capabilities. Born almost half a century ago, the family is one of the most widespread in the world of military aviation, with thousands of them deployed all over the world.
The single afterburning turbofan engine makes it nimble and potent, capable of flying for distances of about 2,620 miles (4,217 km) and at speeds of Mach 2. Once at its target, it can obliterate it using an arsenal of guns, rockets, and missiles.