Besides the Thunderbirds, what else to look for:

U.S. Special Operations Command Parachute Team 

“The Para-Commandos”
The Para-Commandos are the U.S. Special Operations Command’s premier aerial parachute demonstration team. They perform at high visibility events across the nation, informing the public about the U.S. Special Operations Command; the command’s mission, and the contributions our 70,000 plus Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Department of Defense Civilians are making across the United States and in more than 70 countries around the globe.

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The Para-Commandos are members of and representative of today’s Special Operations Forces. The Para-Commandos are comprised of active duty Special Operators, such as Army Special Forces, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, Air Force Combat Controllers and Marine Raiders. In addition, the Para-Commandos have a number of support personnel, commonly referred to as Special Operations Enablers.  Our enablers come from all four services, and include reserve forces as well.

The Para-Commandos tailor each performance to the individual venue, and can perform from as low as 2000 feet above ground level to as high as 13,500 feet above ground level.  Depending on the venue and time of day, The Para-Commandos may jump flags, smoke, sparklers, or a combination of each into the event.  The Para-Commandos are proficient in both free fall and canopy formations; and specialize in landing on time and on target in front of the crowd!

An F-35A Lightning II fighter jet, 6th Weapons Squadron, takes off from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 18, 2019. The 6th WPS is the only squadron under the U.S. Air Force Weapons School exclusively training on the F-35A. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bryan Guthrie)


F-35A Lightning II

The F-35A is the U.S. Air Force’s latest fifth-generation fighter. It will replace the U.S. Air Force’s aging fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt II’s, which have been the primary fighter aircraft for more than 20 years, and bring with it an enhanced capability to survive in the advanced threat environment in which it was designed to operate.

With its aerodynamic performance and advanced integrated avionics, the F-35A will provide next-generation stealth, enhanced situational awareness, and reduced vulnerability for the United States and allied nations.

The F-35 is designed to provide the pilot with positive target identification and precision strike in all weather conditions. Mission systems integration and outstanding over-the-nose visibility features are designed to dramatically enhance pilot performance.

The F-35’s engine produces 43,000 pounds of thrust and consists of a three-stage fan, a six-stage compressor, an annular combustor, a single-stage high-pressure turbine, and a two-stage low-pressure turbine.

With nine countries involved in its development (United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Australia), the F-35 represents a new model of international cooperation, ensuring U.S. and Coalition partner security well into the 21st Century. The F-35 also brings together strategic international partnerships, providing affordability by reducing redundant research and development and providing access to technology around the world. Along these lines, the F-35 will employ a variety of US and allied weapons.

Legacy aircraft
Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Tristan Biese

Jim Beasley, Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation P-51 pilot fly during a Flight syllabus sortie at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, May 17, 2019.

Air Force photograph by Roland Balik

A MiG-17 taxis during the 2019 Thunder Over Dover Air Show Sept. 14, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del.

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The F-86 Sabre made its name in the skies over Korea where the swept-wing fighter destroyed nearly 800 MiG 15s during the Korean War. The jet, the first of its kind in the American arsenal, broke speed records throughout its evolution.

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The Immortal Red Baron is a theatrical air show performance about the most famous fighter pilot in history. The demonstration combines narrative story-telling with live-action aerial dog fighting maneuvers, characters in authentic costumes, propane machine guns, as well as special themed music and sound effects.

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Julie Clark’s T-34 Mentor.

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T-28 “Trojan Thunder”

CH-53E Super Stallion
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The CH-53E Super Stallion is the U.S. Marine Corps’ primary heavy-lift asset. Its mission is to provide combat assault transport of heavy weapons, equipment, supplies and troops.

The CH-53E is critical to the execution of our national security strategy, Navy and Marine Corps warfighting concepts and the associated need for capable heavy-lift. From the Scott O’Grady rescue mission in the Balkans to delivering critically needed combat support in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa, the CH-53E continues to be in high demand.

The CH-53E incorporates Global Positioning System, Forward-Looking Infrared Radar, Aviator Night Vision Imaging Systems Heads Up Display sensors, and carries three 50 caliber guns (as a mission kit). Communications include Ultra High Frequency/Very High Frequency/High Frequency radios, secure communications capability, and Identified Friend or Foe.

The CH-53E is the replacement for the CH-53D to satisfy a Marine Corps requirement for a heavy-lift helicopter. Requirement exists to operate the CH-53E through 2030 and its replacement is currently in test and development, the CH-53K King Stallion.

HC-130J Combat King II
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The HC-130J replaces HC-130P/Ns as the only dedicated fixed-wing Personnel Recovery platform in the Air Force inventory. It is an extended-range version of the C-130J Hercules transport. Its mission is to rapidly deploy to execute combatant commander directed recovery operations to austere airfields and denied territory for expeditionary, all weather personnel recovery operations to include airdrop, airland, helicopter air-to-air refueling, and forward area ground refueling missions. When tasked, the aircraft also conducts humanitarian assistance operations, disaster response, security cooperation/aviation advisory, emergency aeromedical evacuation, and noncombatant evacuation operations.

Modifications to the HC-130J have improved navigation, threat detection and countermeasures systems. The aircraft fleet has a fully-integrated inertial navigation and global positioning systems, and night vision goggle, or NVG, compatible interior and exterior lighting. It also has forward-looking infrared, radar and missile warning receivers, chaff and flare dispensers, satellite and data-burst communications, and the ability to receive fuel inflight via a Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation.

The HC-130J can fly in the day; however, crews normally fly night at low to medium altitude levels in contested or sensitive environments, both over land or overwater. Crews use NVGs for tactical flight profiles to avoid detection to accomplish covert infiltration/exfiltration and transload operations. To enhance the probability of mission success and survivability near populated areas, crews employ tactics that include incorporating no external lighting or communications, and avoiding radar and weapons detection.

Drop zone objectives are done via personnel drops and equipment drops. Rescue bundles include illumination flares, marker smokes and rescue kits. Helicopter air-to-air refueling can be conducted at night, with blacked out communication with up to two simultaneous helicopters. Additionally, forward area refueling point operations can be executed to support a variety of joint and coalition partners.

EA-18G Growler Airborne Electronic Attack Aircraft
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The EA-18G Growler is the fourth major variant of the F/A-18 family of aircraft that combines the proven F/A-18F Super Hornet platform with a sophisticated electronic warfare suite.

Built to replace the EA-6B Prowler, the Growler is the first newly-designed electronic warfare aircraft produced in more than 35 years. The aircraft also retains all of the F/A-18E/Fs multi-mission capabilities with its validated design and the capability to perform a wide range of enemy defense suppression missions.

The EA-18G Growler features the ALQ-218 receiver, ALQ-99 jamming pods, communication countermeasures, and satellite communications.

Along with the electronic attack suite, the Growler also features the APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar.

The first Growler test aircraft went into production in October 2004 and made its first flight in August 2006.

The extensive commonality between the F/A-18E/F and the EA-18G Growler, as well as its flexible platform, gives the Growler much-needed room for future upgrades and growth.

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