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Raptors Line Up Behind Hercules, Air Above Them Seems to Boil in Anticipation

Organized, synchronized takeoffs of military aircraft are always very spectacular, both to witness, and be a part of. And most of us have to thank Operation Desert Storm of the 1990s for getting to like that, and the many television cameras that, for the first time in history, broadcasted large-scale military operations live.
F-22 Raptors and C-130J Hercules 7 photos
F-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 Raptor flying during the Abbotsford International Air Show
Such large-scale military operations take place to this day, although most of the time (and thankfully) this time we are only talking about exercises, and not as many combat ops. And that means movement of military hardware takes place constantly, only mostly outside of the television cameras reach.

And this is why we generally miss scenes such as the one shown in the main pic of this piece (click photo to enlarge). It shows three F-22 Raptors (the U.S. Air Force, which released the photo, says there are F-15 Eagles in there as well, but they’re obviously off-camera) lined up behind a massive C-130J Hercules, ready to take off in mid-July from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

The airplanes were part back then of the Pacific Iron 2021 exercise intended to make Pacific Air Forces “a more lethal, adaptive and resilient force.” And with all of their engines fired up, the air above seems to have reached a boiling point.

What we’re witnessing here is yet another instance of the so-called elephant walk. The term was coined in the years of the Second World War, when large aircraft fleets constantly took off in short time intervals, because someone, somehow, thought these displays of airpower look pretty much like a parade of elephants lining up on a watering hole.

As for the planes taking part in this particular elephant walk, they barely need an introduction. The F-22, even though no longer in production, is one of the most advanced airplanes in the sky, the F-15 Eagle an almost half a century veteran, and the C-130J the backbone of support operations.

Editor's note: Gallery shows other F-22 Raptors.

 
 
 
 
 

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