This Is How a Test Range Commander Loads His Plane With Weapons for Combat Training

Despite other, more modern and younger military airplanes being around, the F-16 Fighting Falcon remains one of the most widespread and intensively-used such aircraft in the world. Over 4,000 of them were made since the family’s introduction back in 1973, and many of them are still flying, in the service of over 25 nations.
F-16 Fighting Falcon during combat training 29 photos
Photo: USAF/Tech. Sgt. Alexandre Montes
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These numbers make the present F-16 family extremely diverse, in terms of pretty much anything, from livery to the types of weapons they carry. Regardless of all that, the plane is one fierce weapons platform, as demonstrated time and again over the decades.

The particular F-16 we have here belongs to the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Weapons School. It was snapped on camera in mid-July (pic was only published this month by the USAF), during what the military branch describes as a training mission, part of exercise Red Flag-Nellis 22-3, held over the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR).

The plane was being flown at the time by Col. Cameron Dadgar, which also happens to be NTTR’s commander. We’re not told how far in during the combat exercise the plane was snapped on camera, but part of its wing loadout is still visible in this Photo of the Day-worthy shot.

Generally speaking, the F-16 comes with nine hard points, capable of holding a variety of weapons and other tools. Two are located at the tip of each of the wings, three under each of them and one right under the main fuselage.

A Fighting Falcon can carry up to six air-to-air missiles (AIM-9 Sidewinder or AIM-120 AMRAAM), or air-to-surface munitions, including two 2,000-pound bombs. Two 2,400 pounds external fuel tanks can also be attached there.

This particular F-16 seems to follow the standard loadout, with an AMRAAM on the wingtip, and a Sidewinder right next to it.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows various other F-16s.

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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