The image we have here, recently released by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) contains the best this particular generation of aircraft has to offer, namely the A-10 Thunderbolt (introduced in 1977), the F-15 Eagle (introduced in 1976), and the F-16 Fighting Falcon (introduced in 1978).
Between them, these three machines are 135 years old, but they certainly don’t show it when flying alone or together, as they did in late January over the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. All the beasts seen here belong to the 40th Flight Test Squadron assigned to the said base, and tasked with putting new or improved aircraft (including the F-15EX Eagle II) through their paces.
This rare congregation of four-gen aircraft is not the Air Force’s way of bidding farewell to any of them. Quite the opposite, in fact, as all of them, plus a new, sixth-gen machine expected to arrive in the 2030s, will form the backbone of USAF’s future, streamlined fleet of aircraft.
So, expect to see them in operation in the skies over the world, and featured here on autoevolution in our Photo of the Day section, for a long time to come.