F-16 Viper Demonstration Team showcases combat capabilities at Festival Aereo Chiclayo 2024

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Meghan Hutton
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team (VDT) performed combat capabilities demonstrations and developed grass-roots bilateral ties between the United States and Peru at the Festival Aereo Chiclayo 2024 (CIX24), in Chiclayo, Peru, June 15-16, 2024.

The airshow illustrated the continued friendship between the United States and Peru and the shared values, challenges and responsibilities between the two countries.

Not only did the VDT illustrate the F-16 Fighting Falcon’s extensive aerial operability during the performances, but the air show also provided a unique opportunity for cultural interaction and mutual learning. The team had the opportunity to meet with Peruvian government and military officials to include Peruvian Prime Minister Gustavo Adrianzén; Walter Astudillo, Peruvian Minister of Defense; Peruvian Army Gen. David Guillermo Ojeda Parra, Joint Chief of the Peruvian Armed Forces; and Air Force Lt. Gen. Carlos Cateriano Chavez, Chief of the General Staff of the Peruvian Air Force.

“Our team is overwhelmed by the heart of the Peruvian people and would like to express our utmost appreciation for their hospitality and friendship,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Taylor “FEMA” Hiester, VDT commander and pilot.

Not only do events such as CIX24 allow for crucial long-range flight training opportunities, but they also strengthen partnerships and interoperability with partner nations such as Peru.

“First, the relationship we have with the U.S. Air Force has been growing for many years since halfway through the last century,” said Peruvian Air Force Col. Manfred Wilmar Rondón. “We are partners, we are associated countries, and we have quite a strong relationship in security and defense. So, the significance of [the U.S. and Peru] participating together in this festival is precisely to strengthen and solidify the relationship we have and so that the Peruvian population can understand that our nations are friends.

"It’s very important for us to have high performance aircraft like the F-16 and our Mirage 2000 participating together, and it also shows that our air forces can have great interoperability.”

The interoperability required at CIX24 was illustrated on a grander scale during Exercise Resolute Sentinel 2024 conducted by the U.S. Air Force Southern Command, the Peruvian military and other regional partners in May and June of this year. The close ties formed in both events continue to build on trust and support between the U.S. and Peru, as well as bolster economic partnerships and regional stability in the greater SOUTHCOM area of responsibility.

The VDT’s presence in Peru also underscores the value of collaborating with the Peruvian Air Force at a highly public event like CIX24, which was the team’s first international show for the 2024 season and garnered more than 80,000 attendees over the course of two days.

“The importance of the F-16 Demo Team being here is to display and show the combat capability of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and what it offers, but also show the commitment and the relationships that we have with Peru,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Barton Kenerson, the senior military official representing SOUTHCOM at the event. “We’ve had many successes over the last month in Resolute Sentinel 2024 and this just shows that as we come together facing shared challenges and shared issues in the region, [we further advance] safety, security and prosperity for our citizens in the western hemisphere, via the F-16 Demo Team being here and this airshow.”

The continued cooperation between the United States and Peru during events such as CIX24 not only acts as a deterrent for regional instability, but also fosters trust and mutually beneficial relationships among western hemisphere neighbors.

In 2024, the team will represent Air Combat Command and the Air Force at 25 airshows in four countries.