On Tuesday, the U.S Air Force conducted the largest ‘elephant walk’ exercise, launching approximately 40 C-130 military transport aircraft in a row.
An ‘Elephant Walk’ is a fundamental training element when preparing for global strike missions. This exercise refers to the close formation of military aircraft before takeoff. The term originated in World War II when allied bomber operations consisted of 1,000 aircraft and their attacks were carried out in a single file, nose-to-tail fashion that resembled elephants traveling to the watering hole.
In a statement, the Air Force said the 317th and 19th Airlift Wings launched dozens of C-130s for what is set to be the largest C-130J interfly formation today.
Defense journalist Ryan Chan said on its Twitter account that the largest formation of C-130Js in U.S. Air Force history flew over Abilene on Tuesday.
ABILENE, Texas — The largest formation of C-130Js in USAF history flew over Abilene on Tuesday. The formation included 24 C-130Js from Dyess Air Force Base and 14 C-130Js from Little Rock AFB. pic.twitter.com/PXyBnQq71b
— Ryan Chan 陳家翹 (@ryankakiuchan) July 15, 2020
Approximately 24 C-130Js from Dyess AFB and 14 C-130Js from Little Rock AFB will launch from their respective bases, combining into a large formation in the air to fly to notional airdrops at Dyess AFB, and Big Bend, Texas.
“The goal of the exercise is to train and emphasize full-spectrum readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy, and showcase the benefits of the new C-130 “4/12” deployment initiative implemented in 2019,” said Dyess AFB in a news release. “A secondary objective is demonstrating maintained readiness despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19.”