This week’s Max Thunder air combat training exercise in South Korea, which concludes Friday, includes the first-ever appearance of the Air Force’s 18th Aggressor Squadron in Korean skies. A contingent of F-16s from the unit, which calls Eielson AFB, Alaska, home, has been operating from Osan Air Base, acting as the primary “threat aircraft” during the USAF-South Korean air force drills. “Interoperability with US and allied forces versus a highly trained threat flying dissimilar aircraft enables our aircrew members to be battle-ready for a myriad of potential threats,” said Capt. Ryan Noonan, 18th AGRS chief of standards and evaluations. The unit’s F-16s are painted to resemble MiG and Sukhoi fighters and its pilots employ the tactics and maneuvers associated with those aircraft. (Osan report by Capt. Matthew Stines)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.