A Good Friday to one and all, FighterSweep Fans! We cannot send you into the weekend without an appropriate dose of Mach Diamonds and reheat, and we have a beauty for you. Not only is it a shout-out to our brothers and sisters in the Wild Weasel community, but also a shout-out to the “Warhawks” and their record of more than 50 years of distinguished flying in defense of America’s interests abroad.
The 480th Fighter Squadron, the Warhawks, currently flies the Block 50 F-16CJ Fighting Falcon, referred to in the community Viper and”Super Weasel,” because of its primary mission: the suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses (SEAD/DEAD).
The 480th was a USAFE F-4 squadron part of the 52d Tactical Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, West Germany. It was equipped with F-4Gs as part of the “Wild Weasel” mission, flying in F-4E/F-4G “Hunter-Killer” teams. In 1983 it fielded F-16A/B Fighting Falcons, and then upgraded to F-16CJ/DJ aircraft in 1993.
The 480th was inactivated on 1 October 1994 as part of consolidation of USAF forces in Germany. After the inactivation of the 52 FW’s 22nd and 23rd Fighter Squadrons, the 480th was reactivated on 13 August 2010 and was composed of members of these two squadrons.
When Operation Odyssey Dawn kicked off over Libya five years ago, it was the Warhawks who lead the SEAD package in the opening days and weeks, raining judgement on the Libyan air defenses in classic Wild Weasel style. The squadron even flew Close Air Support as part of the rescue package to extract the members of a Strike Eagle crew who punched out when their jet experienced a mechanical failure.
As USAFE‘s only Block 50 squadron, the Warhawks provide the Supreme Headquarters Allied Forces Europe and USAFE commanders with dedicated Wild Weasel, air interdiction, offensive and defensive counter-air, and close air support capability.
To the Warhakws: RRF!
(Featured photo by Jonathan Derden)