Fighter Squadron ONE TWO SIX [VF-126]
Fighter Squadron 126 (VF-126), the Pacific Fleet Adversary Squadron, was known as the "Bandits". Adversary operations involve friendly aircraft mimicking the tactics and characteristics of enemy forces to enhance the relevance of combat training. VF-126 started providing the adversary mission in April 1967 from Miramar. The Skyhawk was chosen as the bandit aircraft because of its maneuverability and smokeless trail, just like a MIG.
The Navy's West Coast adversary squadron, located at NAS Miramar in California, provided realistic air-to-air combat training to the Pacific Fleet's fighter and attack crews. With aircraft such as the F-5, VF-126 was able to simulate the air-to-air tactics and performance characteristics of Soviet fighters like the Vietnam era MiG-17 and MiG-21 and the more modern MiG-23. Fighter Squadron 126 conducts ground school, instrument flight training, and Out-of-Control flight training for F-14, F-4, and A-6 Fleet Replacement Pilots and NFO's as directed by COMNAVAIRPAC and higher authority. Flying the A-4 Skyhawk along with the T-2 Buckeye and eventually the F-16, it flew as an aggressor force alongside those of "Top Gun" and VFC-13 until financial restraints associated with the draw-down of forces led to the squadron being decomissioned in April 1994.
With the decommissioning of Active squadrons VF-45 and VFA-127 during FY 1996, Reservists assumed 100 percent of the adversary training mission. The Naval Air Reserve Force currently provides fleet adversary training with two squadrons crewed by VFA and VF aircrews from Carrier Air Wing, Reserve Twenty (CVWR-20).
The VF-126 Fighting Seahawks, flying the A-4 Skyhawk, is sometimes confused with the Naval Fighter Weapons School (aka Top Gun), although these are two different squadrons.
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