F-35s and F-16s Line Up for Massive Elephant Walk With Tankers in the Background

Twenty-eight. That’s how many fighter aircraft I personally was able to count in the image we have here. And they’re not alone, but accompanied by two tanker aircraft far behind, in the background, making for one impressive display of no less than 30 pieces of military hardware, perfect to usher in the new year, one that is shaping up to be very dangerous.
F-16 Fighting Falcons and F-35 Lightning IIs 30 photos
Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Keith Holcomb
F-35 Lightning II over Nevada during Red Flag exerciseF-35 Lightning on the tarmac in TexasF-35 Lightning buzzing the CN TowerF-35A Lighting IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35 LightningF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35 Lightning cruising subsonic into the sunsetF-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
Over the years, we’ve seen our share of such displays. The Air Force calls them elephant walks for reasons that stretch back to the Second World War, and few of them are so imposing as the one shown in the main photo of this piece.

Front and center, we’ve got an F-35 Lightning II, and then we get some more of them in the rows that follow. Interlaced, we are treated to F-16 Fighting Falcons, looking just as potent and fresh as their much younger companions.

All of these fighter planes are deployed with the 354th Fighter Wing based at the Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The tankers, on the other hand, belong to the Air National Guard’s 168th Wing, stationed at the same base.

The location has been around since 1943, and is responsible with conducting a wide range of missions in the Pacific, from offensive to interdiction and air support to training.

The needs of the base were until recently served by F-16s, with the 354th Fighter Wing involved “in every major conflict in which the United States” has been part of, except Korea. As of 2020, the unit started getting its hands on F-35s, and it eventually hopes to field a small army of over 50 of them.

The planes lined up on the runway of the Eielson military installation back in December 2021, as a “demonstration of the wing’s ability to rapidly generate combat airpower.”
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Editor's note: Gallery shows other F-35s and 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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