My instructor pilot was also mission commander for a Large Force Exercise (LFE) in the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR), and everyone but me measured their hours in "the Bone" by the thousands.
Mission planning, ground operations, air refueling, and the flight out to the UTTR were uneventful.
We noticed some Red Air off our left wing for about 50 miles as we set up our run into the target at Wildcat in the northern area of the south UTTR. They did not appear to be merging on us and we weren't getting any Radar Warning Receiver indications; so we pressed.
Capt Schluter was flying an F-16C as #1 of a 2-ship Basic Surface Attack (BSA) sortie in the North UTTR
. While orbiting over a target area at 11,000 feet MSL and 300 KIAS, Capt Schluter felt a thud followed by a persistent vibration.