Hello again FighterSweep fans, and thanks for tuning in for this week’s Burner Friday! Today’s tailpipe fire is brought to you by the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing, based at McEntire Joint National Guard Base just east of Columbia. The Swamp Fox, as they are collectively known, trace their history back to 1946 when the 157th Fighter Squadron was incorporated into the South Carolina ANG.
About 1500 Swamp Fox personnel make up the 169FW, and the unit boasts the largest contingent of active associates in the Combat Air Forces, making it a primary supporter of the USAF’s Total Force program.
They have made history time and again, being the first Guard unit to employ the F-16 Fighting Falcon when they received the jets beginning in 1983. Twelve years later, brand new block 52 Vipers were delivered to their new home at McEntire, ushering in a new chapter in the unit’s history – and mission. Their specialty? Suppression of enemy air defenses, and they’ve become masters of their craft.
Toting at least one AGM-88 HARM and associated ECM equipment, a pair of fuel tanks (bags), and targeting pods, the block 52 Viper can carry a lot of weight. But remove all that, clean it up, and it literally becomes a rocket. Powered by Pratt & Whitney’s F100-PW-229, the 29,000 pounds of thrust far outmatches the empty weight of a block 52 jet (somewhere around 18,000 pounds) by 1.6 to 1. Even with fuel added, that still leaves a good amount of excess thrust, and our dear Swamp Fox Viper driver indulged our taste for exquisite afterburner.
For our example above, we were fortunate to witness the mighty block 52 jet in a clean configuration departing McEntire in spectacular fashion for a functional check flight (FCF), with the -229 motor blazing away.
Now for Exhibit B, check out some more Swamp Fox burner goodness, with this video from our good friends at the 169FW!