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Thirty-Four Military Aircraft Come Together for the Mother of All Elephant Walks

Military machines, especially aircraft, are very impressive feats of human engineering. Thanks to the wonders of the modern world (read cameras), we civilians get to enjoy them as well, in the official videos and photographs released by their operators.
Large number of different aicraft on an elephant walk in Japan 9 photos
MC-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
Most of the time, these public releases, especially those of the U.S. Air Force (USAF), focus on just one type of aircraft. We don’t mind that, as we get to study each machine in detail as it goes about its business, but we have to admit, things get a hell of a lot more impressive when more than just one type of aircraft is shown.

And in this impressive pic we have here, showing the mother of all elephant walks, we get no less than eight types of military aircraft, and a total of no less than 34 machines. Not all of them, sadly, are seen here, but the ones we do see give us a pretty decent sense of how the whole thing might have looked like.

In this image, leading the pack and spreading throughout the herd are twelve F-35A Lightning IIs operated by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The second row, and some of the other ones, is occupied by no less than sixteen F-16CM Fighting Falcons, deployed with the USAF.

Further back, two Japanese E-2C Hawkeyes proudly display their massive dishes, and a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon completes the formation.

On deck for the display, but not visible in the main pic of this piece, were also a Navy EA-18G Growler and C-12 Huron, but also a Japanese CH-47 Chinook.

According to the Air Force, the elephant walk took place at the Misawa Air Base in Japan in mid-May and was the culmination of a week-long readiness exercise.

This particular formation was not just for show, but part of a “routine exercise scenario testing the 35th Fighter Wing's ability to generate airpower in support of the defense of Japan and other partner nations.”

Editor's note: Gallery shows various other elephant walks.


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