Two dozen U.S. Air Force F-16s belonging to the 510th Fighter Squadron and 555th Fighter Squadron, along with two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters of the 56th Rescue Squadron (plus one acting as a camera ship) took part in an unprecedented 31st Fighter Wing’s “Elephant Walk” on the runway at Aviano Air Base in northeastern Italy.
The Elephant Walk was followed by a COVID-19 flyover as part of a training activity “intended to showcase the continued combat power of Aviano Air Base and give thanks to first responders, doctors, and all personnel engaged in the battle against COVID-19.”
The Aviano’s “Vipers” did not only taxi in close formation or in sequence (in the same way elephants do) to take some cool shots, as those you can find in this article: they launched and carried out their flying activity that included missions in the restricted airspace over the Adriatic Sea.
During the flyovers in Slovenia, the six 31st FW F-16s joined three Pilatus PC-9M of the Slovenian Army.
Six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, will conduct a flyover into the Slovenian region around Ljubljana June 1, 2020.
The flyover is a salute and thank you to all healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential personnel working on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.
“The U.S. and Slovenian forces have a long history working together; and operations and engagements with our allies and partners demonstrate and strengthen our shared commitment to safety, security, and stability in the region no matter the nature of the fight,” said 31st Operations Group commander, Col. Leslie Hauck. “The U.S. and Slovenian jets flying in formation over Slovenia today serve as a reminder that we are in this together – as Allies, partners, and friends.”
U.S. Forces have a close relationship with their Slovenian Armed Forces counterparts, and wanted to do their part to express gratitude to all the medical staff, emergency responders, and those providing essential services in Slovenia for their hard work and dedication throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter jet with proven success in air-to air combat and air-to-surface attacks. The F-16’s maneuverability and combat radius allow it to fly more than 860 kilometers, deliver weapons with superior accuracy, in all weather conditions, while defending itself against enemy aircraft, and return safely to its starting point.
The 510th Fighter Squadron is part of the 31st Operations Group at Aviano Air Base, Italy. It is a combat-ready F-16CM fighter squadron prepared to deploy and fly combat sorties as tasked by NATO and US combatant commanders.