Hunter and Prey Military Aircraft Come Together Behind Fuel Source

Here’s a challenge: do not read past this paragraph, and try to name all the different kinds of aircraft seen in this amazing image released by the U.S. Air Force not long ago (click main photo to enlarge). Here’s a hint: there are two kinds of fighters and a tanker.
F-15C Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, KC-135 Stratotanker 33 photos
Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Aaron Larue Guerrisky
KC-135 StratotankerKC-135 StratotankerKC-135 StratotankerKC-135 StratotankerKC-135 StratotankerKC-135 StratotankerF-15E Strike EaglesF-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15F-15Aggressor 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 Resolve
The photo was shot back in August in the skies over the Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, where a number of military units were deployed to take part in the so-called Red Flag-Alaska 21-3 exercise – a drill meant to “hone the skills required in combat by providing training scenarios that replicate near-peer adversary tactics, techniques and procedures in a controlled environment.”

We've featured images from this event before, but there's something special about this one. As said, there are two types of fighter planes in this image. Two of them are F-15C Eagles assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron out of Kadena Air Base, Japan. We’ll call these ones the prey.

The other two are F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron. As some of you already know, this type of squadron has only one thing in mind: oppose Air Force planes and their pilots in “a program of intense dissimilar air combat training.” Meaning they’re most of the times hunters.

Regardless of their status in the hierarchy of the pack, both breeds came together behind a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 912th Air Refueling Squadron out of March Air Reserve Base in California. They did that because this kind of aircraft is used to feed all sorts of flying weapons, and they usually pull such stunts.

These planes are not actually feeding at the moment, but seeing machines of war so different come together in the same shot is not something that happens every day. So straight to our Photo of the Day section, this one goes!
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Editor's note: Gallery shows other F-15C Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, KC-135 Stratotankers.

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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