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Weaponized Aggressor Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon Looks Ready to Wreak Havoc

Missiles and rockets dangling from its wings, a huge payload attached to its belly, and the landing gear retracting shortly after take-off - all are elements that make this F-16 Fighting Falcon look like its heading into a combat zone, ready to wreak havoc from above.
F-16 Fighting Falcon 64th Aggressor Squadron 1 photo
Luckily, the plane is not rushing toward conflict, but was taking part earlier in June in an exercise at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. It was a U.S. Air Force (USAF) Weapons School Integration drill, and that explains all the gear the airplane is packing.

The fighter is deployed with the 64th Aggressor Squadron operating out of Nellis. These guys fly about 30 F-16 Fighting Falcons, and they usually like to paint them in the colors of enemy forces, especially the Russian Air Force, helping train other pilots “to win in air combat against any adversary” with “realistic, threat-representative, near-peer adversary.”

The squadron is part of the Aggressor program that kicked off in the early 1970s as a result of the high air combat loss rate experienced during the Vietnam War. The military higher-ups though back then that a “professional adversary force conducting a program of intense dissimilar air combat training” is the best way to go, and thus the 64th was born.

The F-16 airplane, nicknamed by its pilots Viper, came to be at about the same time as the Aggressor Squadron in the 1970s. It was initially designed by General Dynamics, but the family is now in the hands of Lockheed Martin.

The airplane has been designed as a fighter aircraft capable of going as fast as Mach 2 for as much as 2,620 miles (4,217 km). It comes with a large number of hardpoints on which weapons can be attached, as seen in the main image of this piece (click photo to enlarge).

 
 
 
 
 

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