Trial by Fire

F-16 test pilots from Edwards AFB, Calif., flew mock combat at Red Flag for the second time, testing new software and weapons integration at Nellis AFB, Nev. “Taking a developmental test unit and putting it in that large-force employment, we were able to find things that are ultimately going to save the taxpayers money,” said Maj. Robert Ungerman, 416th Flight Test Squadron operations supervisor. Loaded with the upcoming M6.1+ software package, the squadron’s four upgraded F-16s trialed new air-to-air capabilities with the AIM-120D missile during the two-week exercise that concluded earlier this month. The quartet also employed the Small Diameter Bomb, debuted by squadron aircraft at Red Flag in 2009. Aiming to “evaluate the new software in an operationally representative environment,” Red Flag offers “something that would stress the system much more than we can traditionally do here at Edwards,” said Lt. Col. Leonard Kearl, 416th FLTS commander. (Nellis report by Jet Fabara)