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In-Flight Close-Up of Aggressor F-16 Shows Wing Loadout

Us regular mortals have very few opportunities of seeing to top of a military airplane, because with the exception of air shows, when they may fly inverted, that’s a side of their bodies these machines usually keep for themselves.
F-16 Fighting Falcon wing loadout 20 photos
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There is a group of people that sees plenty of upper parts of aircraft though. That group comprises the crews of aerial tankers, who often get to see fighter jets and bombers pull below their flying gas stations for a fill.

Tanker crews do not like to waste opportunities, so they snap instances of incoming aircraft as often as they can, and the best ones are happily shared by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) for all to enjoy.

They did the same with the pic we have here, captured back in mid-March during the Red Flag-Nellis 22-2 exercise. It shows an F-16 Fighting Falcon deployed with the 64th Aggressor Squadron, pulling in to get its fill from a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 91st Air Refueling Squadron.

The Airman 1st Class responsible for this pic went for an artistic approach, and instead of giving us a view of the entire aircraft, she presented us with the perfect opportunity to peek at the wing loadout of the Aggressor F-16.

The Falcon has nine hardpoints on which stuff can be attached. We get two at the tips of each wing, three under each of them, and one right under the main fuselage. Each of these hardpoints can be equipped with a variety of hardware, ranging from fuel pods (two 2,400-pound tanks) to weapons.

It’s mostly weapons and pods of various uses that go on the wings. Up to six air-to-air missiles (AIM-9 Sidewinder or AIM-120 AMRAAM), or air-to-surface munitions (including two 2,000-pound bombs) can be attached to either of them, or they can be replaced with said pods.

This particular F-16 seems to be packing an AIM-120 on the wingtip, an AIM-9 next to it, and an electronic pod further in. The hardpoint closest to the body is unoccupied.

Editor's note: Gallery shows other F-16s.

 
 
 
 
 

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