F-16 Fighter ‘Elephant Walk’: Fleet of Fighting Falcons Took Off Together to Warn Russia

«Данное сообщение (материал) создано и (или) распространено иностранным средством массовой информации, выполняющим функции иностранного агента, и (или) российским юридическим лицом, выполняющим функции иностранного агента»

In April 2021, the U.S. Air Force and allies from several countries conducted an elephant walk at Andravida Air Base in Greece that featured many elite F-16 fighters. The likely audience was Russia. 

An Elephant Walk Defined

An elephant walk is “the Air Force term for a close formation aircraft taxiing and en mass before takeoff.”

So basically an elephant walk is exactly what it sounds like. Dozens and dozens of aircraft line up together and taxi down the runway and then in quick succession the aircraft take off.

Elephant walks are conducted as a force readiness exercise and also as a way to demonstrate air power and signal to rivals the latent destructive capabilities of our military.

But the term elephant walk is not modern and does not come from exercises but rather functional force deployment practices in World War 2, when heavy bombers would take off en mass to conduct large-scale bombing runs.

As the bombers were taxiing and taking off together, the large aircraft resembled elephants walking nose to tail in formation.

F-16s and More Elephant Walking in Greece

The 2021 Greece elephant walk occurred during INDIOCHOS 21 at Andravida Air Base.

For the elephant walk, “the 510th Fighter Squadron participated in INIOCHOS 21, a Hellenic air force-led exercise designed to enhance the interoperability and skills of allied and partner air forces in the accomplishment of joint operations and air defenses,” The Air Force said on the Aviano Air Base website.


As the video shows below, the majority of the aircraft used appear to be F-16s belonging to various nations.

Other fighters are also visible in the video.

Sending a Message with F-16 Elephant Walk 

The elephant walk in Greece is no doubt meant to convey to European adversaries (i.e. Russia) that the U.S. and its allies are ready and capable.

The Greece elephant walk is not the only example of the U.S. and its allies conducting an elephant walk abroad to flex their collective military muscle.

The U.S. Air Force and five allies recently staged an elephant walk in the Indo-Pacific region.

Clearly, a recent elephant walk was staged to intimidate China, which has become increasingly assertive in the region.

The elephant walk was conducted at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam last year. It featured a 23-plane formation that included jets from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and France.

Elephant walks have also been conducted on American soil. For example, Hill Air Force Base has completed multiple elephant walks with their F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Again, the move is symbolic and meant to convey to America’s enemies abroad that the F35 fifth-generation stealth jet is operational and ready to participate in US foreign policy.

Separately, the Air Force conducted a large-scale elephant walk at Holloman Air Force Base, which featured a 49-ship assortment of MQ-9 drones and F-16 fourth-generation fighters.


About the Author: Harrison Kass

Harrison Kass is a prolific defense writer with over 1,000 published articles. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken. Email the Author: Editor@nationalinterest.org. 

Main image is from Creative Commons. Intext image is from Shutterstock. 

Источник: nationalinterest.org


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