Lights In the sky seen across the U.S. Were Conga Lines Formations of USAF Military airlifters. The U.S. Air Force conducted an extraordinary exercise to evaluate their ability to deploy a large aircraft formation.
Air Mobility Command’s airlifters have hit the skies en masse under the cover of night to fly across the U.S. and into the vast military training ranges in the American Southwest.
Conga line of 18 USAF Hercs over Texas… 😎 pic.twitter.com/GGL5DOZ594
— CivMilAir ✈ (@CivMilAir) December 9, 2018
The goal is to simulate prying open the enemy’s back door and setting up combat shop on their lawn as part of an annual drill called Joint Forcible Entry Exercise (JFEX). In a simple word the exercise conducted for testing the pilot’s abilities to fly in a large formation and to simulate a mission to get into enemy territory and drop U.S. Army paratroopers, who would then establish a presence on the ground
25 C130/C30J’s what the heck is going on? pic.twitter.com/pf7lEHCG8M
— Jaysen Adam (@PatriotBulldog2) December 9, 2018
Up to 30 C-130, Hercules and almost 10 C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft with and other special aircraft (included E8 Joint Star) took off from a dozen bases around the United States as part of the extraordinary and massive exercise.
The value of an exercise of this magnitude allows the armed forces the opportunity to see training completed on a smaller scale now executed of a larger, more real-world scenario. The annual mobility exercise allows the airlift wing the chance to perform almost every aspect of a combat mission including intelligence development, aircraft loading and launch, airdrops and special operations and landings on semi-prepared runways.
Our plane tracking friends started catching the peculiar streams of Air Force cargo aircraft popping up on their flight tracking software earlier in the evening. Within a short amount of time, it was clear that a major exercise was underway and the timing is perfect for this iteration of JFEX.
Here is a taste of JFEX action seen during a daylight portion of the exercise from a few years back. The C-17s are working out of Keno Airstrip in the NTTR. As you can see, it is one impressive display of airpower. Also, keep in mind that there are so many other moving parts you don’t see in the video. It is literally the tip of the operational iceberg:
The exercises are some of the most demanding and challenging for airlifted crews and instructors judge successes and failures based on how the entire force works together in the air and on the ground.
At the same time, the massive airlift exercise of the U.S. Air Force really gave experts from all over the world quite a scare.