Earlier this week, the U.S. Air Force rolled out dozens of A-10s and F-16s in an "elephant walk"—a military demonstration that involves ta entire squadrons of aircraft down the runway to train for the type of en masse takeoffs that would be necessary in wartime. An elephant walk also serves as a reminder to surrounding nations of the United States' military capabilities.
This elephant walk was held on a runway at the Exercise Beverly Herd 16-01 at Osan Air Base in South Korea. The A-10s are from the 25th Fighter Squadron "Draggins," and the F-16s are from the 36th Fighter Squadron "Fiends" of the 51st Fighter Wing. You can see them all in the video below.
The U.S. Air Force recently decided that the A-10 Thunderbolt II, affectionately nicknamed the Warthog, is just too useful to be retired. Originally designed to take out Soviet tanks, the armored attack plane continues to prove its worth. Likewise, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, referred to as the Viper by many airmen, has proven its competence in battle, and with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program lagging, it's safe to say the Viper isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
It's no secret that tensions are high between the United States and China in the Pacific region, particularly in the South China Sea where China is building airstrips on atolls that they claim are for civilian research, but look suspiciously like military facilities. China claims sovereignty for 12 nautical miles around these manmade islands. The United States doesn't recognize that sovereignty.
Who knows if these A-10s and F-16s will be needed, but the U.S. wants the entire Pacific region to know that they are "ready to fly tonight."