Military Aviation

Watch these beautiful photos of Oklahoma ANG F-16 Vipers at morning’s first light

Oklahoma ANG Vipers at morning’s first light

Taken on Oct. 6, 2016, during an early morning sunrise the gorgeous pictures in this post show Oklahoma Air National Guard (ANG) airmen from the 138th Maintenance Squadron, Tulsa, OK performing routine maintenance on 138th Fighter Wing (FW) F-16 fighters. Noteworthy maintenance personnel are often asked to work long hours, from early in the morning until well into the night.

Oklahoma ANG F-16 fighter jets, belonging to the 138FW are mainly tasked to support the Homeland Defense Air Sovereignty Alert mission. Nevertheless the Oklahoma Air National Guard Vipers fly also to consolidate the precision-guided weapon employment capability that exists in the Air National Guard: in fact to satisfy their air-to-ground training requirements, 138FW aircrews usually use Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range, located in the Smoky Hills region, ten miles south of Salina, Kansas, where the best air tactics training environment is provided.

The F-16

The F-16 evolved from a 1972 USAF Lightweight Fighter prototype program which sought a small, lightweight, low cost, air superiority day fighter designed for high performance and ease of maintenance. It achieved combat-ready status in October 1980. Many foreign nations, including Belgium, Denmark, Turkey, Egypt and Israel, have purchased the F-16.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack.

In an air combat role, the F-16’s maneuverability and combat radius (distance it can fly to enter air combat, stay, fight and return) exceed that of all potential threat fighter aircraft. It can locate targets in all weather conditions and detect low flying aircraft in radar ground clutter. In an air-to-surface role, the F-16 can fly more than 500 miles (860 kilometers), deliver its weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its starting point. An all-weather capability allows it to accurately deliver ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions.

Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Drew A. Egnoske / U.S. Air National Guard

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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