On a rainy cloudy evening of August 14th the day before India’s independence day, two F/A-18’s arrived for the trials and evaluation of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) upcoming Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft procurement.
The other US contender is from my neighbourhood in my home county of Tarrant the Lockheed Martin F-16IN Super Viper.
A few days earlier after four futile attempts over week filled with clouds and rains, the God’s decided to let the sun shine and the Super Vipers fly.
An IAF test pilot from ASTE handle “Tester 93” flew this sortie. Aircraft appears to be configured in an air to air combat configuration.
This sortie was flown by Lockheed Martin test pilot with a handle “Rocket 2”; and did he fly the Viper like his handle. Took off across the runway at full throttle at a gentle 5 degrees. About five miles out he went almost vertical to FL500 (50,000 feet). Could not catch the rocket on take off, but got him on his equally fast landing. Any F16 guru who can comment on what the pod on the left below the cockpit is ? Also in the belly; is that a drop tank or a dummy bomb ?