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Boom! How a F-16’s Sonic Boom Kept Special Forces Alive


Quick thinking and creativity of a F-16 pilot saved allied lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Ten days into Operation Iraqi Freedom, two F-16 aircraft cruised into the airspace. One was flown by Lt. Colonel Edward Lynch. They got a call to fly somewhere north of where they were, and got there as fast as they could. Ten minutes later, they witnessed about 50 British forces surrounded by about 500 Iraqi troops. The pilot asks for a strobe, as they were wearing night vision goggles, which require illumination. Unfortunately it was a moonless, starless night. So Lynch would not be able to drop a bomb. “I have no strobe,” said Lynch from the cockpit. “I can’t help you if I can’t see you.”

Lynch and his wing man realized that they had to think of something, as things on the ground were fast getting worse. Lynch developed a plan that relied on the power of the F-16’s engine. Like every supersonic jet, of the F-16 flies fast enough, it creates a supersonic boom. Lynch planned to use the supersonic boom as a weapon.

Lynch hoped the Iraqis would think the sound was a weapon, which would give the troops time to escape. During Lynch’s attempt, he dodged a surface to air missile through some effective maneuvering.

When Lynch finally had time to inquire about the success of his endeavor, he was told that the supersonic boom of his F-16 had worked. Boom!

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