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Shaw F-16s patrol space shuttle launch

July 26, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Three pairs of F-16s from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina will patrol the skies above the Kennedy Space Center Tuesday as part of security precautions for the launch of space shuttle Discovery.

USAF F-16C block 50 #92-3920 from the 20th FW is the wing commanders bird shot on the tarmac on April 22nd, 2005. [Photo by EriktheF16]

The Vipers will be accompanied by an AWACS Boeing 767 military aircraft that will monitor air and sea traffic and communications while providing surveillance.

Shaw AFB is home to the Air Force's largest combat F-16 wing. The primary missions of the 20th fighter wing are the suppression of enemy air defenses and destruction of enemy air defenses.

A U.S. Coast Guard boat crews will provide security in and around the waters surrounding the shuttle launch complex and a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will also be watching for any low-flying aircraft that might stray into the restricted airspace around the Kennedy Space Center.

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