F-16 Fighting Falcons Hold Hands as They Fly Over the Most Dangerous Places on Earth

The U.S. Air Forces Central (USAFCENT) area of responsibility is a fancy phrase used by the American military to describe a region of the world used to conflict and danger. So it’s no wonder even the mighty F-16 Fighting Falcons seem to be holding hands as they fly in those skies.
F-16 Fighting Falcons over USAFCENT 27 photos
Photo: USAF/Master Sgt. Matthew Plew
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The USAFCENT is, in essence, the sky over some 21 countries in Southeast Asia that, for the U.S. Army, create the so-called USCENTCOM. It’s a huge area, some 4 million square miles (10,360,000 km) large, and contains, as per the military’s own acknowledgment, “the most volatile and contested territory in the world.”

On the world map, the place translates into countries like Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, among others. All, and some others over there, have been hotbeds for conflict for decades and need a watchful eye to stop things from really going south.

This is why in the places it is allowed to, the U.S. Air Force conducts regular patrol flights. That is exactly what we see in the main photo of this piece, a snapshot captured at the beginning of May and recently released by the USAF.

Four F-16 Fighting Falcons are seen flying formation over the vast deserts of the area (exact location was not disclosed), with the angle of the shot and the closeness of the fighters making it seem like the two on the left are touching their wings.

The planes shown here are deployed with the 55th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, usually stationed at the Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. The unit got the fighters back in 1997, when it broke the mold and became a “combat-ready F-16CJ squadron in only 60 days.”

The four planes were about and about, the military branch says, as a means to deliver airpower and show “the U.S. commitment to deterrence and regional stability.”
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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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