Massive Joint USAF-USMC Elephant Walk Shows China Who’s Boss

USAF and USMC airplanes at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan 10 photos
Photo: USAF/Staff Sgt. Jessika Braden
USAF and USMC airplanes at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in JapanMC-130Js on elephant walkF-16s on elephant walkF-35s on elephant walkKC-46s on elephant walkF-16s and F-35s on elephant walkF-35s on elephant walkKC 135s on elephant walkF-35s on elephant walk
These are some very intense times for the people living in mainland China and over the Strait, in Taiwan, with the two showing off their military might in the aftermath of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.
At an official level, the American military is sitting this one out, even if it busies itself by throwing harsh words at China over its deployments around Taiwan. But unofficially, the U.S. does not shy away from flexing its muscles for all the Asian nation to see. And it has been doing so for long before current events.

The U.S. has a massive military presence in what it calls the Indo-Pacific region. We often see that thanks to the photos the various branches release of their forces in action there. And one of the most recent pics showing America’s Pacific exploits is this one here.

Lined up on the runway of the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan, dozens of fighter planes look like they’re sitting on parallel assembly lines, ready to be spat out from a factory in times of war. But this is just an elephant walk, performed as part of a pre-planned readiness exercise held at the said base back in July.

Although, at first glance, you may be fooled you’re looking at a collection of fifth-generation aircraft, the reality is a bit more complex. Sure, the first lines of this formation are occupied by eight U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) F-35 Lightnings, ten U.S. Air Force (USAF) ones, and ten F-22 Raptors, but we also get further back F/A-18 Hornets (five of them, deployed with the USMC), and a KC-130J Super Hercules way at the back of the formation.

This drill comprised units of the USAF 354th Air Expeditionary Wing and Marine Aircraft Group 12, and was meant to show the world in general (and China in particular, of course), that America can easily deploy joint forces against potential threats.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows other elephant walks.

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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