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Massive Formation of F-15C/D Eagles Follow Helicopter Down the Runway

In the years of the Second World War, massive formations of aircraft going down the runway at the same time was a common sight at airports across the world. For lack of a better comparison, some people though such gatherings were not unlike a herd of elephants walking down to the next water source, and because of that the term elephant walk stuck with such displays.
F-15C/D Eagles on elephant walk at Kadena Air Base 19 photos
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Over the past few years, we’ve seen our share of elephant walks being performed by U.S. Air Force (USAF) units, but we have to admit, none of them was as impressive as what we’re seeing in the main photo of this piece: an impossible-to-count number of fighter jets, neatly lined up on the tarmac, behind a flying lead helicopter.

All these airplanes are F-15C/D Eagles, and they are deployed with the 44th and 67th Fighter Squadrons. They flocked to the runway at the same time at the beginning of March for something the Air Force calls “a routine wing readiness exercise,” at the Kadena Air Base in Japan.

Such outings, we’re told, are “routinely conducted at U.S. Air Force bases across Japan and around the globe to ensure U.S. Airmen’s readiness to respond to a range of potential contingencies.”

As for the F-15, we’re dealing with one of the oldest military aircraft still in operation. Introduced in the early 1970s by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing), it had its share of war time glory, but now it is on the verge of being retired as the USAF is pondering streamlining its fleet.

Technically, no direct successor is planned to replace the fleet of about 1,100 F-15s now flying in a number of variants. The upcoming fleet of USAF fighters should comprise only the F-16, F-35, A-10, and the upcoming NGAD. Of all the F-15 variants out there, only the F-15EX is likely to survive the purge for a few more decades.

Editor's note: Gallery shows other f-15s.

 
 
 
 
 

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