Naval Air Station Fallon Adversaries Part Two: NSAWC
by Fred Krause


Those of you who know me, know that I am a huge fan of adversary (aggressor, in USAF lingo) aircraft. Besides being an avid modeller, I also enjoy taking photographs of military aircraft.

Fortunately, the two hobbies go hand in hand! This will be a two part photo-feature covering the adversary aircraft of NAS Fallon, Neveda.

Fallon is the US Navy's adversary stronghold. Two of the three dedicated USN adversary units are stationed here. They are VFC-13, which flys the F-5E, and F-5F, and the Naval Strike & Air Warfare Center (NSAWC), which flys the F-18A/B, F-14A, and SH-60F. The second part of this feature will cover the F-14s, F-18s, and SH-60s of NSAWC.

Both parts of this feature represent two years work, and six trips to Fallon. They are not meant to be complete works, but rather to give the reader a good idea of the aircraft these units fly. There are a number of aircraft from both units that I have never even seen, let alone photographed. None of these photos would have been possible without the assistance of Petty Officer Michelle Lewis of NSAWC. My everlasting thanks to her for her co-operation, and patience!

Naval Stike & Air Warfare Center

NSAWC (pronounced N-Sock) is a result of the combination of two well know, and one lesser know commands within the US Navy. On July 11th 1996 RADM Bernard Smith became the first commander of NSAWC as the unit established itself at NAS Fallon.

The two well know components of NSAWC are the Naval Strike Warfare Center aka "Strike U", and the Naval Fighter Weapons School aka "Top Gun". Strike U had previously moved to Fallon from NAS Lemoore, while Top Gun had just arrived from NAS Miramar. The third component is the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School aka "Top Dome", which had also previously been at NAS Miramar.

NSAWC's mission has remained the nearly same as when the three commands were separate. They also support Carrier Air Wings that are at Fallon for work ups prior to deployment to utilize Fallon's vast weapons ranges.

NSAWC flys "A" model F-14s, and F-18s, with a few two seat "B" model Hornets in the mix. A Combat Search & Rescue element was also added, and three SH-60Fs serve this purpose. Top Dome relies on E-2Cs drawn from the fleet for its courses. The NSAWC badge is a combination of the Strike U lightening bolt, and the Top Gun "MiG in the pipper" badges.

Along with VFC-13, NSAWC provides the adversary mission for Fleet units, and also does a lot of training with the west coast F-18 Replacement Air Group, VFA-125 out of NAS Lemoore.

NSAWCs numbering system of its aircraft is much more confusing than that of VFC-13. It flies approximately 6 F-14A Tomcats, 16 F-18A, and 3 F-18B Hornets, and 3 SH-60Fs. There was a fourth SH-60 at one time, but it crashed, killing the crew, in September of 1998.

With companies like Twobobs Aviation Graphics now starting to make decals to cover some of the wildly exotic paint schemes flown by NSAWC, us adversary modelers can now rejoice!

Editor's Note: any one with additional images for this article, please contact Fred Krause.

Page 1: F-14A Tomcats

Page 2: F-18B Two Seaters

Page 3: F-18A Single Seaters

Page 4: F-18A Single Seaters

Page 5: F-18A Single Seaters

Page 6: F-18A Single Seaters and SH-60 Seahawks