October 23, 2009 (by MSgt. Richard B. Hodges) - "Falcon Air Meet 2009", a multi-national F-16 competition hosted by the Royal Jordanian Air Force officially opened October 20.
USAF F-16C block 52s #92-3914 & #92-3917 from the 157th FS prepare to take off for an orientation flight before the 2009 Eager Tiger 10, Falcon Air Meet (FAM) on October 18th, 2009 at Mwaffaq Salti AB.
The goal of the Falcon Air Meet is to train and work through friendly competition between the air forces of the U.S., Middle East, and other F-16 users from around the world.
In this year's meet, F-16 units from Belgium
and the U.S will compete in the areas of F-16 maintenance and operations centered around Lockheed Martin's F-16 "Fighting Falcon." The SCANG's 169th Fighter Wing is the United States' representative in the annual competition.
The competition's events consist of a four-ship formation arrival, a scramble launch, air-to-air dog fighting, weapons loading, and air-to-ground bombing including inert and live bomb drops. For the first time in the Falcon Air Meet competitions, Joint Tactical Aircraft Controllers and Special Forces members will be a part of the competition.
In addition to scored events, the three countries will also train with each other in Basic Fighter Maneuvers, Air Combat Training, and Large Force Employment, as well as overall sortie generation. There will also be observers from ten countries whose air forces fly the F-16.
The meet was inspired by Prince Feisal Bin Al Hussein and first organized in 2006. A main goal of the competition is the improvement of the relationship of Jordan with its partners and the promotion of stability in the region.
The opening ceremonies were preceded by a reception outside the Jordanian Royal Air Force's "Hall of Martyrs" in which FAM 2009 participants and observers were treated to refreshments of orange juice and lemonade as they mingled with their F-16 counterparts from various nations. Two RJAF
bagpipers expertly played tunes ranging from "Yankee Doodle" to "Scotland the Brave" as the several dozen attendees visited with one another.
After a time of visiting, participants and observers were ushered inside to await the arrival of the commander of Jordan's Royal Air Force, Maj. General Hussein Shodash.
Upon his arrival, FAM 2009 opened with welcome remarks by FAM 2009 Project Officer, Maj. Hassan Al-Yemani and the playing of the Jordan national anthem followed by brief remarks by General Shodash.
The goals of FAM 2009 are, according to Maj. Yamani, "to prepare participants for the future; increase strategic readiness; bring together partner nations to demonstrate skills, tactics and techniques in airborne, ground and maintenance events; develop professional friendships through intercultural events; and foster communication, cooperation and teamwork across our borders."
The main objectives of FAM 2009 are to insure interoperability between forces, equipment and training; defeat adversities that threaten world security and stability; strengthen military relationships and improve regional security by exercising coalition forces; improve tactical operations, air space management and air defense capabilities.
Following the opening ceremonies at the "Hall of Martyrs," participants were treated to a short but lavish reception of food and drink at the RJAF Officer's Club where General Shodash cut a cake to commemorate the opening of FAM 2009. The group then moved to the MSAB taxiway to witness the first graded event of FAM 2009, the formation arrival of F-16s from each participating country.
The U.S. team arrived first, followed by the Belgium team and then the Jordanians F-16s flew over the reviewing tent where General Shodash and other dignitaries. Each team will be judged as to the preciseness of their arrival time over the target.
Members of the Colorado Air National Guard are again serving as judges for the Falcon Air Meet as they have done in previous Falcon Air Meets. Colorado's ANG
was instrumental in the formation of the first Falcon Air Meet in 2006 and serves this year as the "White Force" judges.
They were asked to participate as judges for the event, because of their state partnership with Jordan, a partnership formally established in 2004. The results of the formation arrival competition will be made known Nov. 3 during FAM 2009's closing ceremonies.