JUST A REALLY COOL PICTURE: MARINE RETRO MERGE!

photo 41331

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out this little time capsule of speed and heat! It looks like a Marine Hornet entering a close merge with an incredibly tight formation of dissimilar aggressors, in this case an F-5E Tiger II and an Israeli made F-21 Kfir! The F/A-18 Hornet in the foreground appears to belong to VMFAT-101 “Sharpshooters,” the Fleet Replenishment Squadron (pilot training squadron) for Marine F/A-18 aircrews based out of MCAS El Toro, CA at the time. The aggressors belong to VMFT-401 “Snipers” based out the MCAS Yuma, AZ.

This shot was most likely taken circa 1989 as the F-21 Kfir only flew in Navy and Marine Corps service for about four and a half years before the jets were returned to their lessor, Israel. Additionally, VMFT-401 flew both the F-5E/F and the F-21 while they were transitioning out of the F-21 and into the F-5E/F during 1989. You can also tell that this is a “Sniper” F-21 as it was the only squadron that flew these aircraft in the “Flogger” paint scheme to mimic the mach two capable Russian MiG-23. I wonder how long the Hornet pilot and their wingman, both probably in training, lasted against such a nimble, experienced and diverse threat?

These were truly heady times for naval air combat…

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3 Responses to JUST A REALLY COOL PICTURE: MARINE RETRO MERGE!

  1. Andrew says:

    The Kfir was/is flown in the US.

    A hugely popular and respected US airman was sadly killed last year when he crashed one.

    http://www.navytimes.com/article/20120307/NEWS/203070326/Crash-kills-pilot-who-blogged-as-Neptunus-Lex

    • aviationintel.com says:

      Andrew- Yes, I was going to include some info about ATAC. I have written about them and their competitors at great length, did a special feature on them for Combat Aircraft Monthy, and did their photography for their website http://www.ATACUSA.com.
      http://aviationintel.com/?s=ATAC+
      http://atacusa.com/ATAC_brochure.pdf
      The difference here being that ATAC is a contract air service (CAS) red/orange air supplier and not an active aggressor squadron with NAVAIR. Although it is possible that such a formation could be seen again with ATAC providing electronic warfare support out of Fallon (one of their prime operating locations) in conjunction with VFC-13.

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