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Unique Pic Shows Jaguar-Tattooed F-16 Fighter Jet Escorting B-52 Stratofortress

There was a time, especially during the years of the Second World War, when pilots spared no expense or drop of imagination when trying to make their airplanes unique and menacing. The habit of painting stuff on their winged machines became known as nose art, and in turn gave birth to creations like the famed P-51 Shangri-La, or the Figaro the Cat of the British Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires.
F-16 Fighting Falcon, Portuguese Air Force's 301 Squadron Jaguares 2 photos
F-16 Fighting Falcon, Portuguese Air Force's 301 Squadron Jaguares
The tradition continues to this day, as pilots continue to make their killing machines look alive. But try as they might, all other pilots will probably never match the thing you see in the image attached to this piece (click photo to enlarge).

Seen from one of the windows of a B-52 Stratofortress are three Portuguese air force F-16 Fighting Falcons. The airplanes were flying in formation at the beginning of June, during a Bomber Task Force operation over the European country of Portugal, when someone on board the Stratofortress decided to show us an F-16 like no other.

Whereas the other two seen in the background of the photo are wrapped in the blueish-grayish colors we’re used to seeing on fighter aircraft, the one closest to the the American bomber is almost entirely wrapped in a livery that wants to mimic the skin of a jaguar.

That’s because the plane belongs to the Portuguese Air Force's 301 Squadron Jaguares. A unit active since the late 1970s, it hasn’t been involved in any worth mentioning fighting (these guys are mostly sent in air policing missions by their bosses), but sure knows how to make a spectacle at various shows and exercises.

Like many other NATO members, Portugal fields a number of F-16s, and the Jaguares squadron is the one that gets to fly them, including alongside allied aircraft for unique images such as the one here.

 
 
 
 
 

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