Aviation Nation 2016: 75 Years of Airpower – Part III

A key component of Aviation Nation 2016 was the Nellis Capabilities Demonstration with Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground Demonstrations featuring a fantastic array of Nellis Air Force Base aircraft. The base suddenly came under air attack from “Red Forces” General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcons of the 64th Aggressor Squadron (painted up in livery you would expect to see on combat aircraft of Russian origin) and McDonnell Douglas F-15D Eagles were scrambled with afterburners blazing to intercept them.

USAF General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon of the 64th Aggressor Squadron takes off to be part of the Nellis Capabilities Demonstration "Red Force" Aviation Nation 2016
USAF General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon of the 64th Aggressor Squadron takes off to be part of the Nellis Capabilities Demonstration “Red Force”
USAF General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon of the 64th Aggressor Squadron takes off to be part of the Nellis Capabilities Demonstration "Red Force"
Another USAF 64th Aggressor Squadron F-16C takes off to join in on the mayhem!
USAF F-16 64th Aggressor Squadron Nellis AFB Aviation Nation
The F-16 aggressor aircraft are painted in livery similar to those of Russian origin combat aircraft
NELLIS SCRAMBLE! USAF McDonnell Douglas F-15D Eagle's Aviation Nation 2016
NELLIS SCRAMBLE! USAF McDonnell Douglas F-15D Eagle’s
USAF F-15D Eagle Nellis AFB Aviation Nation 2016
Eagle power
A long low take-off by an F-15D as it roars past the USAF Thunderbirds Aviation Nation 2016
A long low take-off by an F-15D as it roars past the USAF Thunderbirds
USAF McDonnell Douglas F-15D two-seat combat trainer Aviation Nation 2016
USAF McDonnell Douglas F-15D two-seat combat trainer
F-16 aggressor pass Aviation Nation 2016 Nellis AFB Nevada
F-16 aggressor pass
F-16 aggressor pass Aviation Nation 2016 Nellis AFB Nevada
F-16 aggressor with afterburner blazing!
USAF F-15D in hot pursuit of the F-16C aggressor Aviation Nation 2016
The F-15D in hot pursuit of the F-16C aggressor
USAF F-15D in hot pursuit of the F-16C aggressor Aviation Nation 2016
The F-15D in hot pursuit of the F-16C aggressor
USAF F-15D Eagle Nellis AFB Aviation Nation 2016
The F-15D Eagle is on the hunt
USAF F-15D Eagle Nellis AFB Aviation Nation 2016
The Hunter – F-15D with afterburner
USAF 64th Aggressor Squadron F-16C Aviation Nation 2016
The Prey – USAF 64th Aggressor Squadron F-16C
USAF F-15D Eagle Nellis AFB Aviation Nation 2016
Air Superiority – USAF F-15D Eagle
Joint terminal attack controller (JTAC)
USAF Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) and Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC)

Then there was a USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters troop insertion and extraction demonstration simulating the rescue of injured troops. The Pave Hawk is a well armed combat search and rescue helicopter. Close support was provided by a pair of Boeing F-15E Strike Eagles and a pair of Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft, the legendary “Warthog”! On the first day the Pave Hawk kicked up a hell of a lot of dust (on the second day they seemed to have been moved further away from the crowd)!

USAF F-15E Aviation Nation 2016 Nellis AFB
USAF McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle take-off with A-10’s waiting in the background
USAF F-15E Aviation Nation 2016 Nellis AFB
Strike Eagle away!
USAF Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II take-off Aviation Nation 2016
USAF Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II take-off
USAF Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II take-off Aviation Nation 2016
USAF Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II take-off past the Nellis control tower
USAF F-15E Strike Eagle releasing flares as it approaches the target area Aviation Nation 2016
USAF F-15E Strike Eagle releasing flares as it approaches the target area
USAF F-15E Strike Eagle Nellis AFB
The Strike Eagle banks over the target area
The Strike Eagle releases another flare as it passes the target area Aviation Nation 2016
The Strike Eagle releases another flare as it passes the target area
USAF F-15E Strike Eagle Nellis AFB
Another look over the target area with the afterburners blazing on the F-15E
USAF F-15E Strike Eagle Nellis AFB
Another flare release to be safe
USAF F-15E Strike Eagle Nellis AFB
Lets hit that target…
Explosion Aviation Nation 2016
BOOM!
USAF F-15E Strike Eagle flying over the target area following a bombing run Aviation Nation 2016
USAF F-15E Strike Eagle flying over the target area following a bombing run
A-10 breaks away Aviation Nation 2016
A-10 breaks away to check out what needs to be cleaned up
Note the simulated cockpit painted on the underside of the A-10 to visually confuse the enemy on the ground - which way is it facing?
Note the simulated cockpit painted on the underside of the A-10 to visually confuse the enemy on the ground – which way is it facing?
You can imagine the firepower the A-10 can bring to the party with its massive General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger 30 mm rotary cannon and all those underwing hardpoints! Aviation Nation 2016
You can imagine the firepower the A-10 can bring to the party with its massive General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger 30 mm rotary cannon and all those underwing hardpoints!
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Combat Search & Rescue - Aviation Nation 2016
Troops are wounded down there
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Combat Search & Rescue - Aviation Nation 2016
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Combat Search & Rescue helicopters are inbound
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2016
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2016
Rescue personnel are inserted at the LZ
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2016
Covering fire is provided by another well armed HH-60 Pave Hawk
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2016
The HH-60 Pave Hawk can be armed with 7.62mm miniguns and 0.50 Calibre machine guns
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2016
The HH-60’s have top cover from the A-10’s
A-10 USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2016
The troops and helicopters are safe with the A-10 circling above
Troop extraction USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2016
Troop extraction time
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2016
Time to go!
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2016
Roll out!
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2016
The HH-60’s head for base
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2016
Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk combat search and rescue helicopter
USAF Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II Aviation Nation 2016
The protector
Combat SAR Aviation Nation 2016
Time for the ground troops to depart

Watching all those jets zipping about and listening to the thundering noise they made was a lot of fun,  and a major component of the airshow. Something not to be missed!

The F-15D interceptors and F-16C aggressors fly past and peel off from the formation over Nellis AFB Aviation Nation 2016
The F-15D interceptors and F-16C aggressors fly past and peel off from the formation over Nellis AFB
F-15E & A-10 The strike and close support formation fly past and break Aviation Nation 2016
The F-15E & A-10 strike and close support formation fly past and break
The A-10 returns to base with an F-15E behind it Aviation Nation 2016
The A-10 returns to base with an F-15E behind it
A-10 landing Nellis AFB Aviation Nation 2016
The Warthog lands
USAF F-15D Eagle pass Aviation Nation 2016
USAF F-15D Eagle pass

In my next post I will show some of the highlights of the Nellis Heritage Parade. This part of the air show featured some historic aircraft operated by the US military including early Cold War era jets. Around all this there were a number of civilian flying displays too.

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