Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon is the United States Navy’s premier air-to-air and air-to-ground training facility. It is located southeast of the city of Fallon in western Nevada.
NAS Fallon is the only facility in the Navy where an entire carrier air wing can train together in the strike tactics which have proven to be successful in combat. Many Navy pilots who flew in Operation Desert Storm credit their success to the training they received at NAS Fallon. Although the air station is relatively small in size the excellent training facilities, four bombing ranges, electronic warfare range, 14,000-foot runway and clear flying weather more than 300 days per year, make NAS Fallon one of the premier Naval installations. From its beginnings as a WWII Army Air Corps air strip in the early 1940s, Fallon has had many uses and missions.
NAS Fallon’s main mission today is fleet support. Although relatively isolated, NAS Fallon is only a short drive from some of the finest outdoor recreation areas and historic sites in the country. Yet, there is big city excitement nearby too. Carson City, Nevada’s state capitol, and Reno with its 24-hour entertainment are only an hour away.
I am reporting my NAS Fallon Base visit. Have been a great eye opener since this time Carrier Air Wing 17 from USS Carl Vinson was there training. We also caught a number of East Coast Squadron and Aggressors from VFC-12 Omars and VFA-204 River Rattlers .
Here are the Squadron and Aircraft type that we saw on 11-12-2013, Its a long list but I felt this is worth the bragging rights with the entire USS Carl Vinson CVN-70 airwing plus some East Coast squadron from NAS Oceana and New Orleans. Marines have a detachment of Hornets. Not to mention all the Aggressor squadron in house and visitors.
NSAWC ( F-16A, F-16B, F-18C, F-18A, F-18E, EF-18G, E-2C)
VFC-13 Saints ( F-5E)
VFC-12 Omars ( F-18C)
VFA-204 River Rattlers ( F-18C)
Air Wing and East Coast Squadron
VFA-25 Fist of Fleet (F-18E)
VFA-11 Red Rippers (F-18F)
VFA-131 Wildcats (F-18C)
VFA-113 Stingers (F-18C)
VFA-94 Mighty Shrikes (F-18C)
VFA-81 Sunliners (F-18E)
VFA-22 Fighting Red Cocks (F-18F)
VFA-2 Bounty Hunters (F-18F)
VAQ-136 Gauntlets (EF-18G)
VAQ-137 Rooks (EF-18G)
VAQ-116 Sun Kings ( E-2C)
VMFA-112 Silver Eagles ( F-18A++)
Airwingspotter.com is privilege to make this Base visit on 11-12-2013. The whole day started gloomy, foggy and windy at 0830hrs in NAS Fallon. We were at the main gate at 0810 hrs, got our passes and photographic disclosure form filled. MC1 Terry and PAO Zip Upham came out to meet us at the pass office and we were instructed of the rules and regulations of the visit. We were of course told about the weather that was not the best on that Tuesday morning and we may not do some of the runway spotting like in the past. We started the visit with a short drive to the NSAWC hangers and each of us have to show our photographic disclosure form before entering the Hangers. In the NSAWC hanger lay 2 F-18E all stripped and than a door led us into the hot ramp. Wow… the hot ramp was bustling with traffic. rows of NSAWC F-16A, F-18C, F-18E E-2C and EF-18g. one of the Blue splinter F-16B 04 was taxing out to the taxiway. As we move along, we got to shoot more of the aircraft on ramp taking very careful not to shoot any open hatches aircraft and no straight on shot of the Superhornets and Growlers. We got several jets just came in from landing and we position ourselves for the perfect taxi shots. 2 F-5E from VFC 13 came through. followed by desert camo F-16A and F18E.
We walked towards the VFC-13 T hangers near the tower and was taking more pictures of the F5 and than towards the Helo ramp of Seahawk. Not for long Zip informed us about CVW-17 traffic and we position ourselves for taxi shots of the Airwing moving to active runway. both Runway was use in Fallon and seems NSAWC and aggressors was using the inner runway while the airwing was using the outer runway. We were greeted with numerous hornets taxi by and also caught an E-2C from Sun Kings. NSAWC F-16 and hornets were also taking off and doing carrier break right before the tower. For a 1st time visitor to NAS Fallon I was overwhelm with subjects to shoot. Moving traffic, flying traffic, taking off traffic and static aircraft’s. Adding to that,switching from video to Still camera, and from wide angle to telephoto.. wow….. I need to multitask and plan ahead in future but there is just too much actions and so little time.
After the hot ramp we proceed over to the NSAWC souvenir shop. Small but full of surprises. Fork out those cash…
Due to the weather , Zip inform us that we will not be doing the runway shots and we proceed onto the Control tower. He informed the tower to let incoming pilots to do a break in front of the tower so we can get a really good breaking shots and a few of the pilots just did that and it was amazing. We caught the Fighting omars, Sunliners, E-2C SUn King and Mighty shrikes CAG did that carrier break in front of us. I was speechless. The birds eye view was more than memorable and everything IMHO ( in my humble opinion) PRICELESS.
Final stop was the airpark kept by NAS Fallon with lots of preserved aircraft domestic and foreign. I was really impress with the variety of Russian jets including a fully equipped MIG-23. We part our ways with the host and and thank them for such great hospitality. The day was not over for myself and Steve Gurley, we proceed over off base on the end of 31L and 31R and shooting those incoming jets for landing. Radio chatter was more than promising with constant traffic coming in and out of the base. We miss all the take off shots but some of the landing shots was good even under very challenging lighting condition. both of us was so exhausted after 4pm and we decided to cut out losses and head back for some “Food” since we were both so hungry by than.
On behalf of our editors from Airwingspotter.com I would like to thank PAO Zip Upham and MC1 Terry Matlock for hosting this Base visit and making this happen. The visit gives us a great opportunity to photograph and video graph the Superbase and also the men women that dedicate their lives to protect our Freedom.
Each Units will be individually illustrated
The Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC, pronounced “EN-SOCK”) at Naval Air Station Fallon located in the city of Fallon in western Nevada is the center of excellence for naval aviation training and tactics development. NSAWC provides service to aircrews, squadrons and air wings throughout the United States Navy through flight training, academic instructional classes, and direct operational and intelligence support. The Call sign for NSAWC’s aircraft have been observed and we all love it…… TOPGUN.
We spent most of our time on the NSAWC ramp and tower. also get to go through the Hangers of NSAWC. The aircraft type that we saw ranges from F/A-18E, EF-18G,F-18C, F-16A Blk 15 OCU, F-16B , E-2C and SH-60 Seahawk. From my research all the F-16 were Ex-Pakaistan aircraft that have low hours. Thanks to the Adversary Squadrons, the F-16 were painted in very kool camo like the Blue Splinter, desert camo and also the regular blue camo bird. A few of the F-18C were in the old Blue Fighting Omar’s colors. The rest of them were painted in the regular TPS scheme but with the Topgun fin flash. We were lucky to catch one of the F_16B in Splinter with the Centennial logo on the jets. Aircraft were very weathered and some have the blue paint peeling off those airframe.
NSAWC Hot ramp Shots.
Bird Eye View of NSAWC
VFC-13 Saints. Base in NAS Fallon.Flying those Ex-Swiss F-5E tiger II, one of my favorite light weight fighter design by Northrop. It has very similar characteristics as the Russian Made MIG-21, thus this is an Aircraft that made perfect sense as an Adversary Role.VFC-13 uses “Bogey” as its main radio callsign when we were listening to the radio chatter.
We were lucky to be able to tour all the T hangers that houses these beautiful F-5. 2 of them fit in one hanger and I manage to photograph all of them. 3 main schemes of camouflage colors we got are the 3 tone white, and grey, a 3 tone blue and a tiger striped version. I did not catch any Brown , green camo or other CoNA bird. When we were on the hot ramp some of the F-5 taxi by us to their t hangers. Here are the F-5 shots static and taxiing. Unfortunately, due to the weather condition we did not catch much of the F-5 flying action since they were either too far or not flying…. the Tiger Striped F5 and a grey white suppose to power up and go but got into some problems and had to go back to the hangers. Oh well…
Better be safe than sorry I guess.
Here are the Pictorial Actions.
We got the greatest Top gun School here in Fallon and adding to that, 2 Visiting Squadrons came in to join the fight for the Red Wing. VFC-12 Omars from NAS Oceana and VFA-204 River Rattlers. Hard to see how lucky we got to see both East, South and West Coast Aggressors under one roof.
Fighting Omars VFC-12
Fighter Squadron Composite Twelve (VFC-12) is a US Navy Reserve fighter squadron based at NAS Oceana, providing adversary training to East Coast air wings. VFC-12 reports to Commander Tactical Support Wing, a component of Commander, Naval Air Reserve Force (COMNAVAIRESFOR). The “Fighting Omars” represent NAS Oceana’s only Naval Reserve squadron, and is manned by selected reservists, full-time reservists (FTS) and active duty personnel.
The squadron’s radio callsign is “Ambush” and their tailcode is AF. Squadron aircraft no longer wear the unique adversary blue camouflage paint scheme which they have been known for but upgraded to the SU-35 Flanker Prototype 2 Arctic Splinter Camouflage in late 2012 when they transitioned back to the F/A-18 A+.
Caught all these birds Taxing by us in that “flanker Spinter ” camo. Very Impressive Scene. They took off after in tadem with the F-16 NSAWC. Some of the tower Shot we got was good because the Omars did some yank and bank…. Tower break maneuvers. The artic Splinter just showed really well even in the foggy and nasty weather we got for the day. Overall I can;t really complain much… but seeing these Splinters makes me want to see them side by side a Artic Camo of the F-16 Aggressors.
Taxi Shots of the Omars
We were by the hot NSAWC ramp when these jets came by us. We could see them clearly from the normal “grey” hornets.
Omars Action shots
Flying shots of the Fighting Omars. They did some awesome tandem take offs with the NSAWC Vipers. Some of the banking shots was done on the Control tower when they bank right in front of us… Some of the Landing shots was taken outside the base .
VFA-204 River Rattlers
Strike Fighter Squadron 204 (VFA-204), also known as the “River Rattlers”, is a U.S. Navy Reserve strike fighter squadron flying the F/A-18A+. The squadron is based out of Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans and is part of the United States Navy Reserve‘s Tactical Support Wing. Their radio callsign is River and their tail code is AF
I was more than surprise seeing these Grey Camo F-18 . Saw them back in 2011 in NAS Ft worth and a couple of times transiting in KAFW . A good selection of Aggressor jets we encounter. Missing the Marine Snipers and VFC-111 Sundowners we will be complete.
Rattlers Action Shots
We did not get as much Rattlers Shot since they were either too far or we were not there at the right time. But they do make an entrance in that 2 tone grey Camo.
Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17)
CVW-17 began its first regular deployment on the Vinson to the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean on 30 November 2010 and returned on 15 June 2011. CVW-17 completed a second deployment on CARL VINSON from November 2011 to May 2012. In October 2012, CVW-17 completed a home port change from NAS Oceana, VA to NAS Lemoore, CA
CVW-17 consists of 4 F-18 Squadron namely VFA-22 Fighting Redcocks (F-18F), VFA-81 Sunliners ( F-18E), VFA-113 Stingers ( F-18C) and VFA-94 Mighty Shrikes ( F-18C) , All 4 Squadron was present during this base visit however the VAQ-139 EF-18G was not present. We did see VAQ-136 Gauntlets and 137 Rooks present on the hot ramp. VAW-116 Sun Kings flies the Current E-2C for airborne Warning and command center.
We were shooting most of the CVW-17 aircraft from the NSAWC ramp whereby they were taxing by us and taking off. CAG birds from Sunliners, Mighty Shrikes and Stingers was observed while Redcocks only have the commander’s bird.
VFA-22 Fighting Redcocks
VFA-22, Strike Fighter Squadron 22, also known as the “Fighting Redcocks”, are a United States Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore. Their tail code is NA and their radio callsign alternates between “Beef” and “Beef Eater“.
Strike Fighter Squadron 81 (VFA-81), also known as the “Sunliners”, is a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet strike fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana. They are a part of Carrier Air Wing Seventeen, their radio callsign is Zapper, and their tail code was AA and recently transisting to Pacific Fleet got change to NA. Their mission is to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations from the sea, putting fuzed ordinance on target, on time.
VFA-94 Mighty Shrikes
Strike Fighter Squadron 94 (VFA-94), also known as the “Mighty Shrikes”, are a United States Navy F/A-18C Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore. Currently a land-based “Unit Deployment Program” squadron, they deploy with no tail code assigned. AS of 2013 with the assigment to CVW-17 gave them a tailcode of NA . Their radio callsign is Hobo.
VAW-116 Sun Kings
There were a few Squadron that was seen but not part of the Vinson Air wing. Mainly they are base in NAS Oceana and NAS Whibley Island.
These are the Squadron that was noted. VFA-2 Bounty Hunters ( F-18F), VFA-25 Fist of the Fleet ( F-18E), VFA-131 Wildcats ( F-18C), VAQ-136 Gauntlets ( Ef-18G), EF-18G Rooks and Marines VMFA-112 Silver Eagles .
VFA-25 Fist of the Fleet
VFA-2 Bounty Hunters
Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2) also known as the “Bounty Hunters” is a United States Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. Their tail code is NE and their callsign is “Bullet”. The Bounty Hunters are attached to Carrier Air Wing 2 (CVW-2), a composite unit made up of a wide array of aircraft performing a variety of combat and support missions that deploy aboard the Ronald Reagan.
Strike Fighter Squadron 131 (VFA-131), also known as the “Wildcats”, is a United States Navy F/A-18C Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana. Their radio call sign alternates between “Cat” and “Cougar” and their aircraft tail code is AG.
Marines VMFA-115 Silver Eagles
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 (VMFA-115) is a United States Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet squadron. Officially nicknamed the “Silver Eagles” and on occasion Joe’s Jokers after their first commanding officer Major Joe Foss, the squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina and falls under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 31 (MAG-31) and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (2nd MAW). The squadron has seen combat during World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars and has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and most recently in 2008 finished up a deployment to Al Asad Airbase in western Iraq. The Squadron radio callsign is “Blade”
VFA-11 Red Rippers
Strike Fighter Squadron 11 (VFA-11), also known as the “Red Rippers”, are a United States Navy fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, VA. Their call sign is Ripper, tail code is AB, and they fly the F/A-18F Super Hornet.
VAQ-136 Gauntlets and VAQ-137 Rooks
Electronic Attack Squadron 137 (VAQ-137) also known as the “Rooks”, is a United States Navy electronic attack squadron based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Washington. The “Rooks” are an operational fleet squadron that flies the EA-18G. The “Rooks” are attached to Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW-1), which is currently assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). Their radio callsign is “Rook” and their tailcode is AB
The Gauntlets fly the EA-18G Growler and are currently attached to Carrier_Air_Wing_Nine, a composite unit made up of a wide array of aircraft performing a variety of combat and support missions. The squadron is currently stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Callsign “Ironclaw”
Hope Ya’ll enjoy this series of report for NAS Fallon. It has been an experience this Superbase.
Several Video Clips can be seen below to get the feel of motion and jet noise. Sorry no smell of JP5
VFC-13 Saints F-5e in the hanger
VFC-12 and VFA-204 taxi by
VFA-94 and VFA-81 actions
VFA-113 and VFC-12